Last Look


Richard Caspole

Richard Caspole

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In late eighteenth-century England, Mrs. Mary Delany and the Duchess Dowager of Portland were collector’s collectors. The women, who enjoyed a long, close friendship, were artisans, art historians, and naturalists. For its exhibition on Delany and her circle, the Center for British Art commissioned artist Jane Wildgoose to commemorate the friendship. Her installation, “Promiscuous Assemblage, Friendship, & The Order of Things,” seen in part here, uses objects that evoke the women’s collections, their use of nature in craftworks, and the decorative approach Georgians took to natural history. The two friends created, Wildgoose says, a domestic “still life in which they were installed like a self-portrait.” (The Delany exhibit is now in England, but the installation is on view through July 18.)

Some objects here, like the cabinets and their shell-petal flowers, were custom-made. But most came from the Center for British Art, the University Art Gallery, and the Peabody Museum of Natural History—which provided the armadillo.

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