dunnettreader + patrons + 17thc   4

Kenan Malik - THE SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENT AND ITS SOUL | Pandaemonium - May 2014
The science writer Philip Ball recently published a post on his blog Homunculus in which he wondered why modern scientific instruments seem to lack the beauty and soul of those of centuries past. Stephen Curry, professor of structural biology at Imperial College, wrote in response, on Occam’s Corner, the Guardian-hosted science blog, a wonderful little essay, in which he questioned some of Philip’s assumptions but made also a case for scientists to have more than an instrumental relationship to their instruments. Philip Ball then wrote an equally insightful reply in which he argued that scientific instruments are made not simply to do a job but also to express a certain image of science, to ‘employ a particular visual rhetoric’ in his words. The changing character of scientific instruments, he suggested, reflects the changing image of science that scientists wish to covey. -- Ball re visual rhetoric - what, and who, these instruments were for. Even for Galileo, the scientific experiment was still at least as much a demonstration as it was an exploration: it was a way of showing that your ideas were right. ...And in the earliest of the early modern era, during the late Renaissance, scientific instruments were objects of power. They were used by the virtuosi to delight and entertain their noble patrons, and thereby to imply a command of the occult forces of nature. For such a display, it was important that a device be impressive to look at: elegance was the key attribute of the courtly natural philosopher.
intellectual_history  cultural_history  Renaissance  16thC  17thC  Scientific_Revolution  scientific_culture  science-public  virtuosos  patrons  scientific_method  experimental_philosophy  Galileo  Hooke  links  EF-add 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
Treasures at Christ's College, Cambridge: Treasures in Focus #7 - Donations Book [Christ's College, MS 23]
The manuscript is dated on its opening folio as 1623 and therefore post-dates Lady Margaret herself by some considerable time, but it is significant in being the earliest extant document held by the College that provides us with a list of the books she presented. We must assume that the anonymous scribe was working from contemporary documents which now no longer survive. Concerned that her new foundation should be provided with books from the very outset, Lady Margaret gave a collection of 40 titles, 27 of which remain in the Old Library today. All of the books were in Latin, and focussed on the subjects most relevant to the needs of the first scholars; theology forms the bulk of the collection as one might expect, but there are also books on arts, law and one medical text. The manuscript is interesting to us not just for the most obvious reason of recording the donation from our benefactor, but also for what this demonstrates about the character of Lady Margaret. For example, all of the items listed are printed; there was no manuscript material given which adds weight to the argument that she offered significant support to printers and the newly flourishing book trade in general. As mentioned, all of these books were in Latin, yet we know that Lady Margaret could only read in English and French, so these books were obviously not donations from her own collection; they were being specifically purchased to be given to the College for use by its students. -- blog post has image of title page with coats of arms of Lady Margaret and her 3 husbands and her device which became the arms of the college
16thC  17thC  books  libraries  university  Cambridge_University  manuscripts  printing  education-higher  Bolingbroke-family  patrons  EF-add 
february 2014 by dunnettreader
Robert D. Hume - The Economics of Culture in London, 1660–1740 JSTOR: Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (December 2006), pp. 487-533
Robert D. Hume asks four principal questions in this article: (1) Who were the consumers of elite culture, and what could and would they pay? (2) What could be earned by writers, actors, singers, musicians, painters? (3) Who actually profited from the sale of culture? (4) How did patronage affect the production of culture? A survey of surviving figures for income strata and the prices paid by buyers suggests that the consumers of elite culture belonged largely to the wealthiest two percent of the population. Analysis of incomes shows that trying to earn a living as a writer, actor, or musician was a tough proposition. Patronage turns out to be surprisingly important, but more in terms of jobs, sinecures, and subscriptions than from individual largesse. Exact equivalencies to modern buying power are impossible to calculate, but scholars need to realize, for example, that in 1709 fully two-thirds of the books advertised in the Term Catalogues cost two shillings or less: a five-shilling book was pricey.
article  jstor  cultural_history  social_history  17thC  18thC  British_history  elite_culture  court_culture  theater  publishing  actors  authors  patronage  patrons  prices  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader

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