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As a polar vortex overtakes the US Midwest with below-freezing temperatures, and a record-breaking heatwave scorches Australia, the extremities of climate change’s effects on Earth’s landscape seem more apparent than ever. In the midst of these severe elements, a new digital initiative, The Watercolour World, launched on January 31 to preserve a view of the world predating photography, by collecting watercolors painted prior to 1900 and digitizing them for free to the public.
“Before the invention of the portable camera, most accurate visual records of the world were made in watercolour. While a huge number of these images still exist, they are fragile, inaccessible, and are increasingly being lost. There is an urgent need to save them and to make them available to a wider public,” the project’s press release states. “The Watercolour World will allow everyone to see these important images together for the first time, and even use them to help solve many of the challenges we face today, from combating climate change to helping rebuild heritage sites destroyed in war.”
The Watercolour World has already compiled 80,000 images, categorized and made searchable to the public by location or subject, including topography, botany, zoology, historic events, and human achievements.
“The Watercolour World will offer an extraordinary journey into the world in earlier times, to encounter our predecessors, and to observe how they lived, loved and played,” said Fred Hohler, founder of The Watercolour World. “With the world at risk from climate change, rising sea levels, and worse, the project will provide scientists and environmentalists with an accurate visual account of much of the natural world as it used to be. And to conservationists and historians, it will provide the evidence to conserve and rebuild structures, to find lost places and to see the roots of human progress.”
Hohler, a former British diplomat, was also the founder of the Public Catalogue Foundation in 2002, which was the first initiative to photograph and publish over 200,000 oil paintings in public ownership in Britain.
Andra Fitzherbert has joined The Watercolour World as chief executive, and the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have joined the effort as royal patrons. The Watercolour World is funded by London-based charity The Marandi Foundation, and British entrepreneurs and philanthropists Javad and Narmina Marandi.
PFU, a Fujitsu company, has provided state-of-the-art scanning equipment for the digitization project. They ask that anyone across the world in possession of pre-1900 watercolors contribute to the digitization project.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
In 1850, when Dr. Robert W. Gibbes commissioned J. T. Zealy to make daguerreotypes of persons held in slavery in and around Columbia, South Carolina, for Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz to use in support of his theory that African people were a separate species, daguerreotypes were at the height of fashion.
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.