Artefact of the month - September 2009
`Study of a young chimpanzee' by Joseph Wolf, ca. 1852
This study of a young chimpanzee is currently on loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge for their Darwin 200 celebration, an exhibition entitled `Endless forms : Charles Darwin, natural science and the visual arts’. The exhibition continues until 4 October 2009.
The exhibition explores how Charles Darwin’s theories inspired nineteenth century artists and how Darwin was influenced by natural history illustrators and the themes of contemporary painters.
According to the exhibition catalogue :
`The naturalism of Wolf's portrayal accords with Darwin's intense interest in the expressions and habits of the anthropoid apes.'
This painting was used as the basis of one of a series of lithographs in `Zoological sketches' (1856-61) with text and commentary by the Secretary of the Zoological Society, David William Mitchell and his successor Philip Lutley Sclater.
Read more in `Endless forms : Charles Darwin, natural science and the visual arts’ edited by Diana Donald and Jane Munro, New Haven and London : Yale University Press, 2009 ISBN 978-0-300-14826-8
Visit the exhibition website at Endless forms exhibition
Other paintings by Joseph Wolf have been featured in previous months including `Row in the jungle which is also on loan to the exhibition Artefact of the month - August 2009 , `Wapiti in the snow’ Artefact of the month - December and detail of a `Caspian snow partridge' Artefact of the month - December 2007 and `Cheetahs' Artefact of the month - September 2008
The Michael Marks Trust provided funding for the cataloguing of the artworks in ZSL's collections. An online catalogue to the artworks can be searched from the above link, Use the `Search artworks’ button on the sidebar. Please note that some artworks are catalogued as collections, not individually.
Visiting the Library
If you are a member of ZSL, please bring your ZSL membership card when visiting the Library. If you are not a member you will need to show proof of address and photographic ID.
Although much of the Library is open access, an appointment is needed to view historic archives, paintings and photographs. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.