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Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

-0001

2019

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Book Illustration, The Naturalist’s Miscellany, vol. 1, The Fan Gorgonia or Venus’s Fan, plate 14, 1789

This is a Book Illustration. It was written by George Shaw and illustrated by Frederick Polydore Nodder and published by Nodder & Co.. It is dated 1789. Its medium is hand-colored copperplate engraving on paper. It is a part of the Smithsonian Libraries department.

Certain species of Gorgonian coral are commonly known as “sea fans” due to their branch-like structure that resembles the “V” form of a folding fan. Frederick Polydore Nodder and his son, Richard, provided colored illustrations for George Shaw’s multi-volume 18th-century nature encyclopedia, The Naturalist’s Miscellany. These works were a source of inspiration for artists seeking exotic and familiar patterns found in nature. The sea fan, with its distinctive web-like tracery of contrasting of solids and voids as well as its matrix of flowing curving lines, is an example of an object in nature that would intrigue, inspire, and be adapted by designers.

It is credited Collection of Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

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Its dimensions are

H x W: 24 × 15 cm (9 7/16 × 5 7/8 in.)

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68766185/ |title=Book Illustration, The Naturalist’s Miscellany, vol. 1, The Fan Gorgonia or Venus’s Fan, plate 14, 1789 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=16 September 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>