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Introducing the Gwillim Project

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Dr. Anna Winterbottom (McGill) and Prof. Victoria Dickenson (McGill) join Dr. Philip Gooding (IOWC, McGill) to discuss the Gwillim Project, a multinational research project exploring the remarkable artistic and epistolary output of two English sisters, Mary Symonds and Elizabeth Gwillim, living in early-nineteenth-century Madras. Elizabeth Gwillim’s high-quality, to-scale natural history drawings of birds, fish, and flowers are held in the Blacker Wood Natural History Collection at the McGill Library. Along with Mary’s paintings and the sisters’ correspondence, these pictures throw light not just on the history of natural history, Prof. Dickenson’s area of expertise, but also on all facets of the life and environment of Southern India at the time. Dr. Winterbottom shares insights from her research into the East India Company and European settlements around the Indian Ocean.

Prof. Victoria Dickenson is Professor of Practice, Rare Books and Special Collections at the McGill Library. She serves as Principal Investigator for the Gwillim Project.

Dr. Anna Winterbottom serves as Research Associate and Project Manager for the Gwillim Project.

For more information on the Gwillim Project, see:

Photo credit: “Forest wagtail (Dendronanthus indicus),” Elizabeth Gwillim, c. 1801–07. From McGill Rare Books and Special Collections, CA RBD Gwillim-1-103.

The Indian Ocean World Podcast is hosted by Dr. Philip Gooding and Dr. Julie Babin, produced by Sam Gleave Riemann, and published under the SSHRC-funded Partnership “Appraising Risk, Past and Present.”