Natural history treasures coming to USC
By Megan Sexton, email@example.com, 803-777-1421
An extraordinarily fine and comprehensive collection of works of art that reflects the history of the discovery of the natural world, and how that knowledge was brought from the Americas to Europe, will soon be in the hands of University of South Carolina students studying subjects from art history to environmental science.
Thanks to a collaboration of USC Libraries, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Arader Galleries, USC will be home to a tour de force of some 15,000 natural history watercolors, woodcuts, engravings, lithographs, chromolithographs and maps from the 16th to 19th centuries. The donation is valued at approximately $30 million.
The works of art are from the collection of Graham Arader, who has devoted more than four decades to building a comprehensive gallery of natural history artwork, including hand-colored aquatints and lithographs by John James Audubon and other important ornithological, zoological and botanical artists.
“We are immensely grateful to Graham Arader for donating his exquisite collection of natural history engravings to the university. Mr. Arader believes that when students live and study near great works of art, great learning will take place,” USC President Harris Pastides said. “Our appreciation cannot be overstated.”
The idea is to excite and inspire the students by bringing the art to them – not simply hanging it in museums. USC leaders envision a collection that is a part of undergraduate education, used by students studying art history, Linnaean classification, business, technology, biology or myriad other topics. Plans call for artwork from the Arader Galleries natural history collection to be on display in buildings all over campus, heightening students’ awareness of the treasures.
“Graham wants the items he has spent a lifetime acquiring to be used to educate,” said USC Libraries Dean Tom McNally. “College of Arts and Sciences Dean Mary Anne Fitzpatrick and I are working together to plan how the items will be integrated into the curriculum. She has been very involved in bringing the collection here and in developing ways to use it for teaching.”
This acquisition follows in the long and treasured tradition in which university librarians and presidents have drawn great collections of rare books, engravings, maps and manuscripts to the university.
The Arader Galleries collection of natural history artwork will be housed in the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in USC’s Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library. Two full-time catalogers will be hired to process and catalog the collection. Once all the collection arrives at USC, it will be ready for regular instructional use in about 12 months, McNally said.
“We are delighted to work with our colleagues on this initiative because we are committed to fostering undergraduate research,” Fitzpatrick said. “Graham Arader’s vision will give our students and faculty the unique opportunity of working directly with engravings and lithographs of extraordinary quality. This is a transformative gift.”
About the Arader collection at USC
- A sampling of the 15,000 natural history prints and engravings included in the Arader collection at the University of South Carolina:
- Natural history engravings from some of the most prominent naturalists and scientific illustrators of the 17th through 20th centuries. Natural history illustrators who focused on birds and animals represented in the collection include Maria Sibylla Merian, Daniel Lizars, Albertus Seba, Frédéric Couvier, John James Audubon, Prideaux Jean Selby, John Gould, Freidrich Strack, Jean-Theodore Descourtilz, Joseph Wolf, John Abbot and Jacob Studer.
- The artists represented who are recognized for their depictions of botanical subjects include Johann Wilhelm Weinmann, Leonhart Fuchs, Pierre Joseph Redouté, M.A. Burnett, Jacob H. Studer, Mary Lawrance, Jane Wells Loudon, Robert Thornton, Elizabeth Blackwell and Henri-Louis Duhamel de Monceau.
- More than 1,400 maps, including representative pages of Blaeu’s “Atlas Maior” (ca. 1672-1682), 18th century maps, maps from late 19th and 20th century atlases of the United States and the world, including a sizeable group of maps of South Carolina and the Southeast from that period, as well as historical street maps of American cities and railroad maps.
- Historical engravings, including works by Nicholas Visscher, approximately 40 leaves from George Frederick Raymond’s” History of England” (ca. 1770-1880), W. Simpson’s prints from the mid-19th century, engravings by Riepenhausen of William Hogarth’s drawings of London streets (ca. 1760), 13 engravings by Giovanni Piranesi, John Trumbull’s engraving of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and works by Andrew Bell.