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Untitled (Bird Box)
© The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2015

Reference URL

Untitled (Bird Box) About 1948

Not on display

Cornell was a keen amateur naturalist and bird-watcher. He began using engravings and cut-out pictures of birds, as well as stuffed birds, from 1942. For Cornell, birds were a symbol of heaven and freedom, their flight path linking heaven and earth. The artist made a number of 'habitats', such as this work, in the 1940s and 1950s, using natural materials collected on walks in the woods and fields of Long Island. The box recalls the man-made environments in museums, designed to recreate slices of nature and used for educational purposes.

Glossary Open


The printmaking technique in which an image is inscribed on a copper plate with a tool that cuts a groove in the surface. This groove holds the ink that creates the print when it is applied to paper. Also refers to the method of making an incision on a material such as glass.



  • Acc. No. GMA 3950
  • Medium Mixed-media assemblage in glass-fronted wooden box with electric light
  • Size 32.80 x 23.70 x 11.20 cm
  • Credit Bequeathed by Gabrielle Keiller 1995