We are so inspired by the drawings of Orra White Hitchcock – her use of simple line and color to depict soil profiles and other geological forms is a beautiful way to represent scientific ideas.

Orra White Hitchcock (1796 – 1863) was one of America’s earliest women scientific illustrators and artists. Between 1828 and the 1840s she made hundreds of large and striking classroom charts used as lecture aids by her geologist husband Edward Hitchcock.

This show, organized by the museum’s chief curator, Stacy C. Hollander, proves Hitchcock to be an artificer as much as an observer, imagining dramatic new ways to express the world’s beauty and, as she saw it, its sacred order. It also demands we drop some of our contemporary assumptions about academic disciplines, to understand an age when “science” was not so rigidly delimited, and stretched beyond the natural world to encompass theology and art.

The Classroom Drawings of Orra White Hitchcock
Palatino Press
March 28, 2014

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Images courtesy of Amherst College and Palatino Press