Monday 2 November 2015

Titian's Butterflies

Here's an image to brighten a foggy November morning. It's a butterfly painting by the gloriously named Titian Ramsay Peale, born on this day in 1799. The sixteenth child and youngest son of the American naturalist and painter Charles Wilson Peale (the first man to paint George Washington), his brothers included a Raphaelle, a Rembrandt and a Rubens.
 Titian was, like his father, a noted naturalist and painter. He was also a great collector, especially of butterflies, and devised an excellent method of displaying specimens in sealed cases with glass fronts and backs. As a result of his care, some of his specimens have survived in good condition to the present day. And, happily, he left behind some very beautiful and accurate watercolour paintings of his favourite creatures.
 The museum founded by his father and continued by him was America's first popular museum of natural science and art, but it unfortunately went bust in 1843 and had to be sold on. Titian went to work in the US Patent Office and before long become a pioneering photographer. He died at the ripe old age of 85.

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