Sarah Alford: Multiple Affinities – Art Botany and Design Reform, 1835-1870

Thursday, March 10 - 12:00 PM

In early nineteenth-century Britain, natural philosophers found themselves in a crisis: A rapid influx of exotic plants had begun to defy and confuse the orders of classification. Specimens were arriving in nurseries and conservatories that couldn’t possibly exist. To cope, botanists invented a new and unstable Victorian taxonomy called the Natural System. This talk addresses the unsung role the Natural System played in the emergence of Victorian era design theory and education.

Sarah Alford is an Assistant Professor at the Alberta University of the Arts.  She earned an MA in Visual and Critical Studies (2009), and MFA in studio through the department of Fibre and Material Studies, Art Institute of Chicago (2010) and a PhD in Art History and Art Conservation Queens University, on the subject of Art Botany in British nineteenth-century design reform (2018). She has exhibited across Canada, Scotland, and the United States, including the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

This talk will be presented live via Zoom.

Meeting ID: 990 7821 5923

Passcode: Nickle

Kate Greenaway, two botanical drawings on watercolour paper submitted as the final requirement for the 23-stage National Course of Art Instruction in the government schools of design, 1864. Victoria and Albert Museum E. 3614:1-2004.

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