Material Memories of Travel and Encounter: The Albums of a Victorian Naval Surgeon
Professor Felix Driver (Royal Holloway)
Respondent: Professor Jim Secord (HPS, University of Cambridge)
This paper considers the visual culture of global maritime exploration, from coastal sketches to ethnographic observation, through a study of the albums of John Linton Palmer RN, a mid-Victorian naval surgeon. Through their drawing, recording and collecting, naval surgeons like Linton Palmer played a significant role in the development of natural history and ethnology during the nineteenth century. The paper discusses the historical significance and contemporary uses of these albums and associated materials in the context of three forms of memory-making: the recording of topographic, antiquarian, ethnographic, microscopic and other data by means of sketches; the assembling of such materials into personalised albums, part of a distinctive nineteenth-century naval tradition; and the possible uses of such forms of visual heritage in a postcolonial context.
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Part of the Global Science Research Group seminar series