Book Title: Paper Zoo : 500 Years of Animals in Art
Author: Mark Avery
Format: Hardback | 256 pages
Publication Date: 22 Sep 2016
The Paper Zoo traces the varied and vital role of natural history illustration in science and art since the fifteenth century. Sumptuous images from giants of the genre - such as the birds of John J. Audubon, or the insects of Maria Sybilla Merian - accompany less familiar but equally intriguing illustrations from manuscripts, journals, and rare printed books. Together, these works represent a collection of nature's wonders. Birds, butterflies, insects, mammals, reptiles, and fish were immortalised in print; pests and curiosities were wondered at; microorganisms made monsters. Travellers brought home, on paper, exotic creatures. Scholars and hobbyists insisted upon the beauty and significance of native creatures, both wild and domesticated - even cows and clothes moths.Charlotte Sleigh shows how the styles and purposes of natural history illustration evolved, from animal alphabets to the extraordinary productions of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century naturalists and explorers recording and classifying the living world.She pays tribute to the achievements of little-known, unsung painters and colourists, alongside famous artists, in this mighty endeavour of collecting, defining and exhibiting animal life on the page.
Here, too, were ironies and contradictions: many naturalists were also hunters, and the dodo and the great auk survive only in paper zoos. Selected for the Spectator's Best Art Books of 2016.