Promoting Natural & Cultural History
Practical aspects of used clothing, bedding, materials for notes and books, collected botanical specimens, letters etc kept among personal belongings during 18th century travels is an ongoing research project introduced in autumn 2017. The aim is to deepen the understanding of issues arising during long journeys and the extensive planning often going on prior to, during and after such scientific expeditions alike. The project is based on a complex network – linked to the Linnaeus Apostles and their Colleagues in a global perspective – of about one hundred individuals as studied via archival documents, physical objects, printed and visual sources of the time.
The project is closely linked the research and publishing work The Linnaeus Apostles – Global Science & Adventure within The IK Foundation over the years 2007-2012, especially an article ‘In the Chest’ (Volume One, pp 249-276) as well as the project “Bridge Builder Expeditions part I” 2014-2021” with travels in North America, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Spitsbergen. Continuous publishing of essays related to 18th century textile traditions on TEXTILIS www.textilis.net (part of the IK Workshop Society) and the recent monograph Textilia Linnaeana – Global 18th Century Textile Traditions & Trade (2017).
The project aims to give a further in-depth understanding of practical aspects during 18th century travels and fieldwork from a perspective of the naturalists, their assistants, local guides and patrons. Carl Linnaeus and his seventeen so-called Apostles evidently had an extended network over their lifetimes, but a surprising number of these individuals seemed to have known each other in a complex combination of contacts via personal meetings and correspondence. Even if women were scarcely seen as actual travellers among the approximately one hundred linked persons, they often assisted with the naturalists’ personal belongings. Mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, washerwomen, knitters, weavers were undoubtedly often part of the preparation of clothing or scientific writings, copying of letters etc.
Even if a traveller’s Instruction written prior to a journey often was followed as strictly as possible, many observations seem to have been accidental which often gave additional or different information than initially intended – the personal belongings and collections were also part of these random encounters. The project will be studied from a wide range of sources, to in the best way possible understand the practical everyday needs and experiences during long journeys on sailing ships or over land via caravans etc in the 18th century.
The two 18th century depictions may illustrate some of the details related to personal belongings and natural history collection work, which this ongoing project will analyse in greater depths during the coming years.
No: CVI | June 4, 2019. ‘Tablecloths and Mats during Meals – Observations by 18th Century Travelling Naturalists’.
No: CXII | December 1, 2019. ‘Disagreements and Unpleasantness – Textile Observations during 18th Century Natural History Travels’.
No: CXV | February 27, 2020. ‘Hans Sloane’s Collection – An 18th Century Study of Natural Curiosities and Textile Dyes’.
No: CXLI | January 24, 2022. ‘SMUGGLING OF TEXTILES AND MAPS – On 18th Century Natural History Journeys’.
No: CXLVI. | April 19, 2022. 'NATURAL HISTORY AND CURIOSITIES – A Case Study of Global Traditions, Textiles and Museums in the 18th century'.