‘A Parliament of Owls’ gathers at Natural History Museum
A group of owls is called a “parliament.”
Linda Miller, for one. She is curator of the John and Peggy Maximus Gallery at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, where she has arranged “A Parliament of Owls,” a display of original antique prints tracing 300 years of owl illustrations.
“Owls have been popular subjects throughout the recorded history of many cultures. Prominent members of the avian family, owls have been thought to possess wisdom, a sense of mystery and solitude,” said Ms. Miller, who wrote the information that accompanies each image in the exhibit that is on view through Feb. 25. (Her writing accompanies each image that is being published with this story.)
“Their striking features lend themselves to a variety of interpretations. A skilled artist was able to manifest a bird’s special character — its form, markings and coloring — in a way that a verbal description alone could not.
“These images by important French, English, German, Dutch, Italian, and American artists fascinate us with their range and diversity, from crude and eccentric to fully realized and naturalistic,” said Ms. Miller. “Seeing them displayed together invites comparison of how they’ve been portrayed over the centuries.”