Jonathan Fisher (1768-1847), resident Congregational minister in Blue Hill, Maine was writer, linguist, inventor, architect, surveyor, farmer, pastor, naturalist, artist-and traveler. His drawings of animals were developed as finely worked engravings in boxwood over a period of several years, resulting in the completed work, Scripture Animals, Or Natural History of the Living Creatures Named in the Bible which is the focus of the exhibition, A Wondrous Journey: Jonathan Fisher and the Making of Scripture Animals (on view starting March 23 in the Craig Gallery).
Scholar Kevin D. Murphy, author of Jonathan Fisher of Blue Hill, Maine: Commerce, Culture, and Community on the Eastern Frontier and professor of art history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York will explore Fisher’s command of visual means to produce remarkably original images of Blue Hill as well as the natural world. Fisher’s well-known view of Blue Hill Village from the mid-1820s is a very early depiction of the Maine landscape. The talk will demonstrate the many ways the painting can be read: as an illustration of the religious concept of the Great Chain of Being, as a tribute to a new village scarcely three decades old, as a careful depiction of rural enterprise, and more.
The Farnsworth’s Assistant Curator, Jane Biano, who organized the exhibition A Wondrous Journey: Jonathan Fisher and the Making of Scripture Animals will share the story of the making and marketing of the book, with emphasis upon natural history, a story which draws from Fisher's studies at Harvard and his travels through Maine and Massachusetts.
Lecture Three—Print on the Maine Frontier: Jonathan Fisher and the Early Republic
Saturday, April 20
This program will include short presentations by three faculty from the University of Maine at Orono using Fisher’s book as a lens for understanding natural history, religion, and print culture in Maine and the United States in the first decades of the 19th century. Faculty members Ben Friedlander (English Dept.), Richard Judd (History Dept.), and Liam Riordan (History Dept.) hope to offer a rich discussion about what this unique cultural artifact can reveal to us about a transformative period in our past.
Location: Farnsworth auditorium
Cost: Series reservation(s)—Farnsworth members $30, $42 nonmembers; Individual lectures—$ 12 members, $16 nonmembers. For individual lecture reservations, please click on the title of the individual lecture.
Please note that there are no hard copy tickets that will be given to you in advance. Your name will be added to a reservation list and we will check you in at the door prior to each lecture or program.