About this program
The vast collections of Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753) were the foundations of three national institutions: the British Library, the British Museum, and the Natural History Museum. A royal physician and natural philosopher of insatiable curiosity who was secretary and president of the Royal Society, Sloane attempted to encompass the world and its knowledge through the creation of an encyclopedic collection to be left to the nation. This talk will briefly examine recent efforts to reconstruct his collections—physically and virtually—with particular reference to his “miscellaneous” catalog, before providing an overview of Sloane’s “paper museum” of one hundred albums of more than 20,000 drawings.
About Kim Sloan
Kim Sloan was the curator of British drawings and watercolors at the British Museum from 1992 to 2020. She is the author of A Noble Art, a study of amateur artists and drawing masters, as well as monographs on Alexander and John Robert Cozens and on J. M. W. Turner. Her exhibitions and publications at the British Museum included The Intimate Portrait (with the Scottish National Portrait Gallery), A New World (also shown at the YCBA), Places of the Mind: British Landscape Watercolors and Drawings, 1850–1950, and Vases and Volcanoes. She edits the Beckford Society’s annual journal. As the principal curator of the Enlightenment Gallery since it opened in 2003, she has been researching Sir Hans Sloane’s collections on and off for the past two decades.
Art in Context
Presented by faculty, staff, student guides, and visiting scholars, these gallery talks focus on a particular work of art in the museum’s collections or special exhibitions through an in-depth look at its style, subject matter, technique, or time period.
George Edwards, A stoat (Mustela erminea), detail, from Sir Hans Sloane's album originally containing 167 drawings of quadrupeds. Watercolor, touched with bodycolor, British Museum.