The British Museum Reading Room is in the British Museum. It used to be the main reading room of the British Library. Although this function was moved in 1997 to St Pancras, London where the new British Library building is now, the Reading Room remains in its original form at the British Museum.
Hasta el siglo XVIII la lectura era una actividad exclusiva de la élite. Con la publicación de las novelas de folletín la lectura comienza a popularizarse y en el siglo XIX empiezan a ser habituales los cuadros con personas leyendo. No es que no haya pinturas con lectores en los siglos anteriores, sino que simplemente no eran tan comunes porque la lectura no era una actividad habitual.
En el siglo XIX aparecen representaciones en las que los lectores están sentados, de pie o acostados, en interior o en exterior, con luz natural, en penumbras o a la luz de una vela, solos o acompañados, estudiando o disfrutando, niños o ancianos, hombres o mujeres, eso es, sobre todo mujeres.
Bedtime de Leslie Redhead (an award winning watercolor artist)
Portrait of Rembrandt‘s mother reading a lectionary, ca. 1630 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam).
A lectionary is a book or listing that contains a collection of scripture readings appointed for Christian or Judaic worship on a given day or occasion. There are sub-types such as a “gospel lectionary” or evangeliary, and an epistolary with the readings from the New Testament Epistles.
Portrait of Phillis Wheatley (1761-1792): African-born Colonial American former slave, child prodigy, translator and poet. Portrait attributed to Scipio Moorhead (S. M.) c.1770s
Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784) was the first published African-American woman and second published African-American poet.
She was born in West Africa, most likely in present-day Gambia or Senegal. When she was seven, she was sold into slavery and transported to North America. The Wheatley family of Boston purchased her and taught her to read and write. They encouraged her to write poetry when they saw her talent.
Her poems brought her fame both in England and the American colonies. She was emancipated after the death of her master John Wheatley. She married soon after but she fell into poverty and died of illness.