This study day was based around the Castle Museum, Norwich's spectacular multidisciplinary exhibition ‘The Wonder of Birds’ which explores the cultural impact of birds upon mankind. The exhibition spans the centuries with 220 works by major artists and illustrators, natural history, archaeology, fashion, and social history.
The National Gallery's Lady with a Squirrel and Starling by Holbein is one of the stars of the show, attracting much press coverage and public interest. The sitter for the portrait, believed to be Anne Lovell, was from the Norfolk area.
There were four speakers: the two curators from Norwich: Francesca Vanke, Keeper of Art and David Waterhouse, Curator of Natural History; Susan Stronge, Senior Curator, Asian Department, V&A who spoke about birds in Mughal art; and Susan Foister, Deputy Director of the National Gallery, who spoke about the Holbein painting. Curators from both art and natural history backgrounds were in attendance.
There followed a lively discussion about the merits and difficulties of working together on a multidisciplinary exhibition, though all concluded that the ‘The Wonder of Birds’ is an extremely successful collaboration.