Saturday, December 02, 2006

The First Naturalist's Cabinet by Wendy Smale


This is the creation that inspired the Fossil Display. This delectable collection by artist Wendy Smale was featured in the November issue of "Dollhouse Miniatures." Wendy has been all that is gracious, and has taken the time to send me the links to her unusual artifacts collections. So, in the words of the artist herself, here is the story behind The First Naturalist's Cabinet.


This is a naturalist's cabinet, or a cabinet of curiosities, in 1:12 scale, filled with 59 tiny real specimens, many of them identified with readable labels. In 17th century Europe a few educated wealthy men created room sized natural history and science collections, also known as Wunderkammer. The development of such collections continued, with many amateurs contributing significantly to scientific knowledge through collecting, studying and publishing. The Pitt-Rivers Museum at Oxford started with the donation of a private collection in 1884, as did many other museums.


In the 18th century Linnaeus collected avidly, and then classified the natural world, developing the taxonomic system that we still use today. This cabinet is a small personal collection, but organised scientifically with separate shelves for fossils, geological specimens, and shells (the owner also added a sea star to the shell shelf, even though knowing it was not a shell!).

The drawers contain further specimens of fossils and a collection of umbonium shells, illustrating the diversity in colour and pattern within this species.


link to The First Naturalist's Cabinet:
http://www.wendysminiatures.com/naturalist's cabinet.html

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