Monday, April 30, 2007

Le cabinet de curiosité de Bonnier de la Mosson

Early libraries, or wonder rooms to be more specific, are intriguing. Being in such a 'cabinet of curiosities' must be inspiring, impossible not to be triggered by the plethora of things around you. Jacques Bonnier de la Mosson was a collectioner and had his own cabinet. Having one of your own, that sounds incredible to me, a dream. The image depicts Jacques cabinet with 9 rooms, painted by Jacques de Lajoue in 1734.

Le cabinet de Bonnier de La Mosson est "un des plus spectaculaires des cabinets scientifiques du XVIIIème siècle, dans lequel, en dépit de sa spécialisation, l'esprit du cabinet de curiosités reste bien vivace" (I. de Conihout, 1998). Le catalogue distingue neuf cabinets : un cabinet d'Anatomie, un cabinet de Chimie, un de Pharmacie, un de Drogues, un "cabinet de Phisique ou cabinet des Machines", "le cabinet du Tour et des Outils", et trois d'Histoire naturelle. Plus un herbier et une bibliothèque.
Wilfing away on a lazy afternoon looking for information about Buffon (George Louis Leclerc, 1707-1788, visionary biologist) lead to de Lajoue's painting (Albert Beit collection Russborough, Blessington, Ireland), which lead to Bonnier's cabinet. The museum of natural history in Paris exhibits one of the cabinets of Bonnier de la Mosson, I will certainly have a look when in Paris.

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