We are open as usual, Tuesdays-Fridays 10am-5pm and Saturdays 10am-4pm. Public tours on Wednesdays 1pm-4pm.
Contact us:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

News

Hidden Nature Library Lecture – February 2021

The theme of our series this year is Hidden Nature. We will explore some of the hidden aspects of Devon, our heritage building, library and Enlightenment collections in general, through the eyes of a diverse group of speakers.

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A ‘Cornish boy, in tin-mines bred’: the legend of John Opie (1761-1807)

Born in Mithian, St Agnes, Cornwall, John Opie (1761-1807) overcame his humble birth to become a Royal Academician and one of the foremost portraitists and landscape artists of his day. He was introduced to the London art world as a self-taught Rousseauian 'noble savage', raised in a ‘remote and secluded part of the island’, who rose to fame ‘unassisted by partial patronage’. However, little of this was true.

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Samuel Parkes’s Chemical Catechism (1806)

While working as a soap manufacturer in Stoke-on-Trent, Samuel Parkes (1761-1825) became fascinated in chemistry. A Chemical Catechism (1806), originally written for his young daughter, became a best-seller across Europe. His method of teaching stressed the importance of observation – but we don't recommend trying his 'amusing experiments' at home!

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Richard A. Proctor’s study of the moon

Beth Howell, our Saturday Events Coordinator, has been exploring the Institution's science collection for inspiration for astronomical making activities for our youngest members. Richard A. Proctor (1837-1888) was a lawyer turned astronomer who wrote a series of works on the planets. His investigation of the moon is illustrated with incredible photographs by Lewis Morris Rutherfurd (1816-1892) who also ditched law to study the heavens.

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