The Great Court of the British Museum, £9.99
Length: 3.600 inches
Enlightenment: Natural world
A portrait medallion of Carl Linnaeus, by Josiah Wedgwood I and Thomas Bentley
Etruria Factory, Staffordshire, England, AD 1777
Carl Linnaeus (1707-78) laid the foundation of
Linnaeus was trained as a botanist and physician in Uppsala, Sweden. He continued his studies in Holland, where he published the Systema Naturae (1735), a catalogue of plants, animals and minerals that announced his attempt to classify living things. After returning to Sweden and becoming professor of botany at Uppsala University, he elaborated his classification system, which he had fully developed by 1758.
scheme gave each organism a unique name made up of two Latin terms.
The first indicated the organism's genus (a group sharing
basic characteristics), the second its individual species within
the genus. The system proved easy to use and was soon taken up by
amateurs and professionals. It had a revolutionary impact upon
This jasperware medallion was one of a number of portrait medallions and plaques of eminent men (and some women) produced by the partnership of Wedgwood and Bentley. The series, which they called 'Illustrious Moderns', included scientists, philosophers, doctors and statesmen of the time.
K. Sloan (ed.), Enlightenment. Discovering the (London, The British Museum Press, 2003)
W. Blunt & W.T. Stearn, The Compleat Naturalist: a Lif (Frances Lincoln, 2002)
A. Dawson, Masterpieces of Wedgwood in th, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)
P. Fara, Sex, Botany and Empire: The St (Icon Books, 2003)