Dorothy Fallon

MA work

Packaged, polished and purchased; cut, labelled and classified; enclosed, narrated and visited; my dissertation considers the presentation of rocks and minerals at a time of discovery, revision and discipline formation. Between 1770 and 1829, geology, the science of the earth, underwent a fundamental transformation. Focusing on the situated nature of ideas my work engages with the multiple definitions of geology, a visual science dependant upon interaction with objects. Through a series of micro-histories ranging from the caverns of Derbyshire to the collections of the Geological Society and the elegant petrifaction shops of Regency spa towns, this dissertation reflects on the relationship between subject and object, the seen and the unseen, and the aesthetic and scientific.

Structured around three chapters, the first considers the use of Derbyshire caverns as a mechanism for the sublime and charts the incorporation of a language of science with one of sensation. The second chapter, Polite Geology, assesses the retailing of rocks, in the form of natural specimens and artificial ornaments, as an integral aspect of spa town culture and investigates the presentation of educational kits as packaged collections of geological and mineralogical knowledge. The final chapter considers institutional geology, focusing on the aesthetics of display in the presentation of collections in the Geological Society of London, ultimately highlighting the artificiality of specimens and the authority of rocks as evidence.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Fine Art

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2009

  • Packaged, polished and purchased; cut, labelled and classified; enclosed, narrated and visited; my dissertation considers the presentation of rocks and minerals at a time of discovery, revision and discipline formation. Between 1770 and 1829, geology, the science of the earth, underwent a fundamental transformation. Focusing on the situated nature of ideas my work engages with the multiple definitions of geology, a visual science dependant upon interaction with objects. Through a series of micro-histories ranging from the caverns of Derbyshire to the collections of the Geological Society and the elegant petrifaction shops of Regency spa towns, this dissertation reflects on the relationship between subject and object, the seen and the unseen, and the aesthetic and scientific.

    Structured around three chapters, the first considers the use of Derbyshire caverns as a mechanism for the sublime and charts the incorporation of a language of science with one of sensation. The second chapter, Polite Geology, assesses the retailing of rocks, in the form of natural specimens and artificial ornaments, as an integral aspect of spa town culture and investigates the presentation of educational kits as packaged collections of geological and mineralogical knowledge. The final chapter considers institutional geology, focusing on the aesthetics of display in the presentation of collections in the Geological Society of London, ultimately highlighting the artificiality of specimens and the authority of rocks as evidence.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) History, University College London, 2006
  • Experience

  • Mapping Sculpture Cataloguer, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2008-9; Weekend Museum Supervisor, Florence Nightingale Museum, London, 2007-8; Volunteer, The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, 2007