Bird Books and Bird Art: An Outline of the Literary History by Jean Anker (auth.)

By Jean Anker (auth.)

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INFORMATION ABOUT FAUNA GIVEN IN DESCRIPTIONS OF COUNTRIES AND IN TRAVEL BOOKS UP TO THE LAST QUARTER OF THE 17TH CENTURY. While the art of engraving designs on metal plates is an ancient one, it was only towards the middle of the 15th century that the process of taking impressions from such plates began to be adapted to artistic purposes. Masterpieces were soon produced by means of the new technique; and with Albrecht Durer, in particular, the art of engraving entered upon a period of greatness in the beginning of the 16th century.

In the course of the century this gave rise to a number of works describing 14 BIRD BOOKS AND BIRD ART individual countries and districts, their fauna and avifauna. At the same time the custom, dating back to antiquity, of keeping live animals in 'menageries', as these collections were called, was extended. Rare, foreign animals were the geIJ,lS of these collections, which were owned mostly by rulers. The menagerie established by Henry I, 1100-35, at Woodstock in Oxfordshire, later transferred to the Tower of London, and that kept by Philip VI in 1333 at the Louvre in Paris are early examples.

The 'Cabinet du Roi' in Paris, which dates back to 1635 is one of these. 15 Among the earlier collections known to have contained preserved birds we may mention the museum founded in Copenhagen by the learned Danish archreologist Ole Worm. , an illustrated catalogue published by his son Villum Worm (Amsterdam, 1655, 10 figs. birds, folio) (PI. I, Fig. 5). , (Hafnire, 1 pI. birds, folio) illustrated with engravings and written by H olger Jacobmus. A revised and enlarged edition was published in 1710 by Johannes Laverentzen (3 pI.

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