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Strange Creatures: The Art of Unknown Animals opens today

JackAshby16 March 2015

Imagine that you are in a place no-one from your country has ever been before. You have just set eyes on an animal incomparible to anything you’ve ever encountered – it might as well be an alien. Cameras haven’t been invented. It will take a year for you or anything you send to reach home. Your job is to communicate what you’ve discovered to the people back home.

The artistic outcomes of scenarios like this are the basis for much of our exhibition Strange Creatures: The Art of Unknown Animals, which opens today.

The Kongouro from New Holland (Kangaroo), George Stubbs (1772). ZBA5754 (L6685-001). National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London*

The Kongouro from New Holland (Kangaroo), George Stubbs (1772). ZBA5754 (L6685-001). National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

The natural history of art; the art history of nature

By examining the world of animal representations, the exhibition explores how imagery has been used to bring newly discovered animals into the public eye. From the earliest days of exploration, visual depictions in artworks, books, the media and even toys have been essential in representing exotic species that are alien to people at home.

Strange Creatures investigates what we can learn about art history by researching natural history, and what art history can contribute to natural history.

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Guest blog: Old London Bridge: Recovery from Disaster

KrisztinaLackoi26 October 2012

GUEST BLOG: DAVID JONES

Old London Bridge: Recovery from Disaster

On Tuesday 9th October David Jones, Paper conservator, UCL Special Collections, curated a Pop-up display ‘Old London Bridge: Recovery from Disaster’. Sections of a 17thC panorama of London before and after extensive conservation treatment were presented and discussed in the context of the Art Museum’s current exhibition ‘One Day in the City’. Below is David’s account of this fascinating object and the process involved in bringing it back to life following severe flood damage.17thC view of the Thames, with severe flood damage

UCL Libraries’ Special Collections hold not only a vast amount of extraordinary bound materials, but also treasures like this London panorama. This is Robert Martin’s 1832 lithograph copied from the Wenceslaus Hollar engraving published in 1647 A View of London from Bankside.
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