The photographs that have been sat in my Flickr box in the side bar, have been bugging me, they reminded me of something, a painting but I couldn’t quite place it (and I hasten to add, that I am not making any artistic pretensions about my ‘point and shoot’ photo, it was just that the images were niggling at me; if you stumble across this post later, here’s one of the photographs)
Then the penny dropped, I got it! The artist I was thinking about was Joseph Wright,1734-97 who is famed for his dramatic lighting effects in his paintings,
I first stumbled across his work (well a reproduction) when I was working in a house that had this painting, hung on the wall, Its entitled ‘An Experiment with a Bird in an Air Pump’ *
(do you think the chap in the red robe looks a bit like Peter Stringfellow?) by coincidence I was, at the time reading The Lunar Men by Jenny Uglow Wright was part of the Lunar Men,they were awesome a group of guys who in the 1760’s got together once a month, they included
Erasmus Darwin, a doctor, and grandfather of Charles, Matthew Boulton, a Birmingham metal-goods manufacturer, and the porcelain man Josiah Wedgwood -they were at the centre of a society that met in Birmingham on the Monday nearest each full moon (so they had enough light to get home in the evening) for, as Darwin put it, ‘a little philosophical laughing’.
Along with James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxygen, the conjuror Richard Lovell Edgeworth and Thomas Day, a follower of Rousseau. Together, they classified plants and isolated gases, they built clocks and telescopes, they flew in hot-air balloons and invented machines that could speak, performed tricks with magnets and dreamt up recipes for disappearing ink. Many of them were self-taught, some were dissenters and radicals, all were ingenious. (full article here)
So I invite you, if you were to put the equivalent group together now in 2008, to meet on the first Monday in the month, sharp, adroit, visionary minds for ‘a little philosophical laughing’. who would you choose, I’ll kick off Tim Berners-Lee ,inventor of the World Wide Web,where would be with out him, not blogging that’s for sure, the inventor James Dyson
* I doubt the bird lived to tell the tale.