The Gunn History Museum is holding an art lecture on September 20

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

According to Gunn, William Hamilton Gibson was part of a uniquely American tradition of art inspired by the natural world. Active during the second half of the 19th century in the so-called “Golden Age of American Illustration,” Gibson’s works and books expanded far beyond creating a visual narrative 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 Washington Hills. Through his illustrations, he tries to inspire others with his love for nature. He was brilliant, very talented, prolific and extremely popular in his time. He published a series of ten illustrated books that brought him international success; exhibited ten watercolors at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893; and lectures throughout the country. A contemporary credited Gibson, along with Henry D. Thoreau and John Burroughs, with “having done more to inspire our generation with the love of nature than others.” In 1895, Gibson built a house, “The Sumacs,” in Washington, D.C., which was designed by Eric Rossiter, a former classmate at Gunnery. A year later, Gibson was unexpectedly stricken 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. Her works are included in the collections of the National Building Museum and the Library of Congress. She is a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, the Maryland Federation of Arts, the Torpedo Factory Art League, the Calligraphers Guild of Washington, and the Writers Guild.

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

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