Sir Edward Salisbury and Chrystel Lebas

Exhibition in Amsterdam of landscape and botanical photos across a century of change

By Rosemary Ross

Photo:Chrystel Lebas, speaking at the opening of the exhibition

Chrystel Lebas, speaking at the opening of the exhibition

G Ross, 10 December 2016

Photo:Huis Marseille museum of photography - entrance. The museum extends into the house to the left

Huis Marseille museum of photography - entrance. The museum extends into the house to the left

R Ross, 10 December 2016

A stunning exhibition of photographs by Sir Edward James Salisbury and Chrystel Lebas has just opened at the Huis Marseille Museum of Photography in Amsterdam. Gavin and Rosemary Ross of Harpenden Local History Society were delighted to be invited by Chrystel to the opening of "Regarding Nature" on 10 December 2016 at which Nanda van den Berg, Director of the museum, Dr Mark A Spencer, former Curator of the British and Irish Herbarium at the Natural History Museum in London, and Chrysel Lebas outlined the origins of the project. 

Chrystel had for some years been researching a collection of landscape and botanical glass plates in the archives of the Natural History Museum, which in due course were identified as the work of E J Salisbury (1886-1978 former Director of Kew). Together with Kath Castillo, Research Assistant and curator of the E J Salisbury collection, she retraced Edward Salisbury's steps in Scotland (including Arrochar, Aviemore in the Cairngorms and the Culbin Sands on the Moray Firth) and at Blakeney Point in Norfolk, building on Salisbury's observations of the changes to landscape and species by the influences of climate and human activity.

Chrystel contacted the Society through our website to find out more about Edward Salisbury's origins in Harpenden, and for contacts who had collections of his early pamphlets. Born in 1886 at Limbrick Hall almost surrounded by Harpenden Common, Edward was the youngest of James Wright Salisbury's nine children. As a 10 year old boy he started studying the flora and ecology of his surroundings and as a teenager met Lawes and Gilbert of Rothamsted.

The exhibition is of huge panoramas and detailed botanical studies by Chrystel, reproductions from E J Salisbury's glass plates made in the 1920s and early 1930s, and a collection of his manuscript notes, typescripts of talks and samples of his publications. It is spread through the many elegant rooms of the museum in two canal-side houses on the beautiful Kaizergracht in Amsterdam.

A magnificent catalogue, Field Studies: Walking through Landscape and Archives - The Sir Edward James Salisbury Archive Re-visited; observing environmental change in British landscape, has been published, available by enquiry through the Huis Marseille website, or by contacting info@huismarseille.nl or http://fw-books.nl/product/chrystel-lebas-field-studies.

Further links of great interest:

Observing Environmental Change: Chrystel Lebas and the Sir Edward James Salisbury Collection, Natural History Museum London http://tinyurl.com/k8vwoxp

and NHM film recording interviews and fieldwork: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/looking-at-past-habitats-through-a-modern-lens.html

Photo:Plan of Marseille harbour - the original owner of this house was a French merchant who settled in Amsterdam in 1665

Plan of Marseille harbour - the original owner of this house was a French merchant who settled in Amsterdam in 1665

G Ross, 10 December 2016

Photo:View along Kaizergracht, Amsterdam - the museum is indicated by the banner

View along Kaizergracht, Amsterdam - the museum is indicated by the banner

R Ross, 10 December 2016

Photo:Re-visiting Suæda fruticosa, Blakeney, Plate n°303, Blakeney, June 2014 52°58.546'N 1°0.015'E by Chrystel Lebas

Re-visiting Suæda fruticosa, Blakeney, Plate n°303, Blakeney, June 2014 52°58.546'N 1°0.015'E by Chrystel Lebas

From the museum wall, R Ross

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Sir Edward Salisbury and Chrystel Lebas' page
Photo:E J Salisbury notebook - from Kew Library & Archive

E J Salisbury notebook - from Kew Library & Archive

From display of documents, R Ross, 10 December 2016, courtesy of Kew Library and Archive

Photo:E J Salisbury, autobiographical notes

E J Salisbury, autobiographical notes

From display of documents, R Ross, courtesy of Kew Library and Archive

Photo:Extract from typescript of talk to Hertfordshire Natural History Society, c.1924

Extract from typescript of talk to Hertfordshire Natural History Society, c.1924

From display of documents, R Ross, courtesy of Kew Library and Archive

Photo:Poster for the exhibition

Poster for the exhibition

R Ross, 10 December 2016

Photo:Cover of catalogue -

Cover of catalogue -

R Ross, 13 December 2016

This page was added by Rosemary Ross on 22/01/2017.

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