The Gunn Historical Museum is holding an art conference on September 20th

WASHINGTON — An illustrated presentation, “William Hamilton Gibson: 19th Century Renaissance Man for the 21st Century” featuring scientific and botanical illustrator and art educator Mary Ellen Carsley, will take place at 6:30 p.m. on the 20 September on Zoom.

According to Gunn, William Hamilton Gibson is part of a uniquely American tradition of art inspired by the natural world. Active during the second half of the 19th century in what has been called the “Golden Age of American Illustration,” Gibson’s artwork and books expanded far beyond creating a narrative visual of the natural world for the audience of the new and growing popular press.

A native of Sandy Hook, Gibson first discovered his passion for nature in botany classes at the Gunnery School and then in the hills of Washington. Through his illustrations, he tried to inspire others with his love for nature. He was brilliant, versatile, prolific and very popular in his time. He published a series of ten illustrated books that earned him international success; exhibited ten watercolors at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in 1893; and gave numerous conferences around the country. A contemporary credited Gibson, along with Henry D. Thoreau and John Burroughs, “with having done more to inspire our generation with a love of nature than any other.” In 1895, Gibson built a house, “The Sumacs,” in Washington that was designed by Ehrick Rossiter, a former Gunnery classmate. A year later, Gibson was unexpectedly shot down and tragically died in his prime at the age of 46.

Carsley is a scientific and botanical illustrator as well as an art educator. A former practicing architect, she has illustrated eight books and numerous articles for national and international magazines. His works have been included in the collections of the National Building Museum and the Library of Congress. He is a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, the Maryland Federation of Art, The Art League at The Torpedo Factory, the Washington Calligrapher’s Guild, and the Guild of Book Workers.

The program is co-sponsored by the Gunn Historical Museum, the Frederick Gunn School and the Washington Art Association. Registration is required to attend this free virtual program; go to

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