Promiscuous Assemblage, Friendship, & The Order of Things

This installation, created by London-based artist Jane Wildgoose, accompanied the Center’s exhibition Mrs. Delany and her Circle. It commemorated the friendship between Mary Delany and the Duchess of Portland, whose magnificent “Portland Museum”—a collection of natural history specimens, fine and decorative arts, and curiosities—was sold in 1786 in a spectacular auction that took place over thirty-eight days. The installation combined a wealth of exotic natural history specimens with selected artifacts on loan from public and private collections, bringing them together with objects specially devised and made for the project. Evoking the “Promiscuous Assemblage” described in the Portland Museum sale catalogue, Jane Wildgoose offered a tribute to the two women’s enduring, productive friendship, which was informed and sustained by shared interests in art and science.

Top image
Promiscuous Assemblage installation, Yale Center for British Art, photo by Richard Caspole

Extended reading

Cover, Mrs. Delany and her Circle

Mrs. Delany and her Circle

Edited by Mark Laird and Alicia Weisberg-Roberts

Read more Mrs. Delany and her Circle