Art and science are often understood as distinct endeavours, sitting at opposite ends of the intellectual spectrum: the artist concerned with the imagination, and the scientist with fact. Creative Destruction: Volcanoes Inspiring Art and Science reflected increasing interest in exploring conversation and opportunities for collaboration between disciplines, as shown in the work of Emma Stibbon RA, Professor Kathy Cashman FRS and Professor Steve Sparks FRS CBE, and their shared fascination with volcanoes, volcanic landscapes, processes, and impact.
The exhibition featured a series of remarkable large-scale drawings and prints by Stibbon, documenting her investigations into volcanic sites, alongside spectacular volcanic rock and mineral samples on loan from the Natural History Museum, London. Also on display was Eton College Library’s copy of William Hamilton’s lavish book Campi Phlegraei (1776) illustrated with hand-coloured etchings of drawings by Peter Fabris, capturing Hamilton’s obsessive fascination with Vesuvius and Etna. In this display, these works were set alongside research by renowned volcanologists Professor Stephen Sparks FRS and Professor Katharine Cashman FRS including spectacular film footage, serving to give a sense of the impact of volcanoes on communities.
Curated by Emma Stibbon RA, Professor Steve Sparks FRS CBE and Professor Katharine Cashman FRS.