Art and history

Learn about the history and development of natural science and discover arresting artworks from the Museum’s unrivalled natural history art collection.

Find out more about our art and history books below.

  • A Guide to the Official Archives of the Natural History Museum, London cover
    A Guide to the Official Archives of the Natural History Museum, London

    This book provides a fascinating introduction to the archives deposited up until 1975 including scientific research, curation, exhibition production, education, publishing, building maintenance and internal management.

  • Alfred Waterhouse cover
    Alfred Waterhouse and the Natural History Museum

    Mark Girouard explores the history of the design and building of one of London's most outstanding pieces of architecture - the Natural History Museum at South Kensington.

  • Arthur Harry Church cover
    Arthur Harry Church

    This stunning book uses previously unpublished material from the Library of the Natural History Museum to reveal the fascinating story of Church's life and work.

  • Art of Nature cover
    Art of Nature

    Featuring works by many of the greatest natural history artists, this is an astonishing visual record of the exploration of parts of the natural world that had never previously been documented.

  • Birds: The Art of Ornithology cover
    Birds

    Birds: The Art of Ornithology is an outstanding selection of images from the famous archive of the Natural History Museum, including exquisitely crafted works from some of the most famous natural history artists ever published.

  • Britain book cover
    Britain

    This is the amazing story of human life in Britain. It begins nearly one million years ago, during the earliest known human occupation, and reveals how humans have periodically lived there ever since.

  • Chinese Art and the Reeves Collection cover
    Chinese art and the Reeves Collection

    Chinese art and the Reeves Collection is a selection of some of the finest examples of Chinese natural history drawings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many of which have never been published before.

  • Close-up cover
    Close-up

    See animals, plants and crystals in a whole new light in this stunning book, full of amazing images created by scanning electron microscope (SEM).

  • Darwin Diary cover
    Darwin Diary 2009

    This timely week-to-view diary is published to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. Every week there is a specially selected full-page illustration as well as entries reflecting the important dates or landmarks from Darwin’s life.

  • Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists cover
    Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists

    This work provides a comprehensive reference source of British and Irish botanists and horticulturalists over the past four centuries. The book also includes plant collectors, flower painters and for the first time garden designers.

  • No cover image available
    Early American Herbaria and Related Drawings from the British Museum (Natural History)

    This collection of five American herbaria is reproduced on microfiche and includes works and specimens produced and collected by some of the greatest American naturalists.

  • Exposing Nature cover
    Exposing Nature

    This book is for all photographers, amateur or professional, who would like to learn more about how to capture images of wildlife and the environment.

  • Extinction: Not the End of the World? book cover
    Extinction

    A highly readable introduction to the causes of extinction, the different types of extinction and how relevant it is to the world today.

  • Footsteps in the Forest cover
    Footsteps in the Forest

    The British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace set out for the Amazon in 1848 to collect natural history specimens. During his time there, he spent almost two years travelling up the Rio Negro, a region few Europeans had explored.

  • Images from Nature cover
    Images from Nature

    This book provides a rare glimpse at unexhibited artwork treasures held in the collections of the Natural History Museum.

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    Manuscripts and Drawings in the Ornithology and Rothschild Libraries of the Natural History Museum at Tring

    A unique collection of published and unpublished books, papers, drawings, watercolours and photographs from the Library of the Natural History Museum at Tring.

  • Museum through a Lens cover
    Museum Through a Lens

    Visit the Natural History Museum – 100 years ago. Featuring stunning black-and-white photographs from the Museum's archives, this book offers a real flavour of life at one of London's oldest and most famous visitor attractions.

  • Natural History Museum Desk Diary 2010
    Natural History Museum Diary 2010

    This week-to-view diary features remarkable images from past Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions.

  • Nature's Connections cover
    Nature's Connections

    Nature's Connections gives an absorbing account of the development of natural history that will enrich everyone's understanding and enjoyment of the subject.

  • No cover image available
    Plant Taxonomic Literature Microfiche Collection

    This unique collection includes 4,679 important, and often rare, reference works in plant taxonomy, available by phytogeographic regions.

  • Potted Histories cover
    Potted Histories

    Through botanical paintings and insightful essays, Potted Histories examines the fascinating history of plants and flowers. Over 20 plant families are profiled, including cacti, daffodils, iris, magnolias, poppies, roses, tulips and water lilies.

  • Race to the End cover
    Race to the End

    A beautifully told, impeccably researched and stunningly illustrated account of the epic race to the South Pole, featuring images that have never been published before.

  • Sarah Stone cover
    Sarah Stone

    This lavishly illustrated book reveals the intriguing tale of eighteenth-century discoveries from the Americas, Australia and Africa through the work of the naturalist painter Sarah Stone.

  • Scott's Last Expedition cover
    Scott's Last Expedition

    Scott's Last Expedition tells the story of Robert Scott's historic and momentous expedition to the South Pole, the characters who were a part of it and their incredible feats of endurance.

  • The Art and Science of William Bartram cover
    The Art and Science of William Bartram

    The Art and Science of William Bartram is a fascinating insight into the life, travels, and drawings of one of America’s most important natural historians who inspired a whole generation of young scientists and field naturalists.

  • The Art of Audubon
    The Art of Audubon

    A special edition boxed set featuring some of the most brilliant bird paintings of all time from John James Audubon's nineteenth century masterpiece, The Birds of America.

  • The Art of India cover
    The Art of India

    Beautiful images of Indian natural history from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

  • The Art of the First Fleet cover
    The Art of the First Fleet

    Features remarkable images from the historic First Fleet expedition, including rare drawings of the local indigenous population and some species that are now extinct or very rare.

  • Birds of America cover
    The Birds of America

    A complete edition of Audubon’s classic work, Birds of America, one of the best known natural history books ever produced.

  • Birds of America cover
    The Birds of America eBook

    An eBook version of Audubon’s nineteenth-century masterpiece, created by photographing a rare, original copy using the latest digital technology.

  • The British Museum Book of Cats cover
    The British Museum Book of Cats

    This beautifully illustrated book looks at the different roles cats have played in human life and also describes the various modern pedigree breeds – from short-haired tabby to long-haired Persian – which have evolved from the original wild cat.

  • The Gilded Canopy cover
    The Gilded Canopy

    How can a major art collection be on full display to the public, yet never be noticed? The answer is that it is on the ceiling.

  • The Great Extinctions book cover
    The Great Extinctions

    An in-depth guide to species extinctions and their many causes and impacts, by Museum expert Norman MacLeod.

  • No cover image available
    The Letters of Sir Joseph Banks

    This selection is made from the surviving 6,000 letters which Banks wrote, and will introduce many readers to a deeply impressive figure, who is rapidly being recognized as one of the great men of his age.

  • Masters of Nature Photography over
    The Masters of Nature Photography

    Ten breathtaking portfolios from ten of the world’s greatest photographers of nature.

  • Treasures of the Natural History Museum
    Treasures of the Natural History Museum

    Treasures of the Natural History Museum is a stunning celebration of the best of the Museum’s unrivalled collections, with intriguing stories and sumptuous photographs throughout.

  • Troubled Waters
    Troubled Waters

    This book explores the fates of whales and dolphins and how they became intertwined with human history. The story begins over 1000 years ago when hunters first took up harpoons and went to sea in search of the rich rewards of meat, oil and whalebone.

  • Voyages of Discovery cover image
    Voyages of Discovery (New paperback edition)

    Voyages of Discovery is a mesmerising visual record of ten of the world’s most significant natural history expeditions.

  • Voyages of Discovery cover
    Voyages of Discovery

    Voyages of Discovery is a mesmerising visual record of ten of the most significant natural history expeditions.

  • Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie
    Walter Rothschild

    This compelling biography reveals the extraordinary life of Walter Rothschild – the best known zoologist of his day and one of Britain’s great eccentrics.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 20 cover image
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 20

    This is the latest memorable collection of images from the prestigious annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition featuring all winning and highly commended photographs from the 2010 competition.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 21 cover image
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 21

    Presenting the very best wildlife images of 2011, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 21 is the latest memorable collection of photographs from this hugely popular series.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 22 cover image
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 22

    This powerful collection of photographs comprises all the winning images in the prestigious Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 competition.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 23 cover
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 23

    This beautiful portfolio captures all 100 winning and commended images from the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 competition.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Diary cover
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year Desk Diary 2011

    The Museum’s 2011 week-to-view diary features stunning photographs of the natural world from past years of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Diary 2012 cover
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year Desk Diary 2012

    The Museum’s 2012 week-to-view diary features stunning photographs of the natural world from past years of the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Diary 2013 cover
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year Desk Diary 2013

    The Museum’s 2013 week-to-view diary features striking photographs of the natural world from past years of the world-famous Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Desk Diary 2014 cover
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year Desk Diary 2014

    The Museum’s 2014 week-to-view desk diary features striking photographs of the natural world from past years of the world-famous Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Pocket Diary 2011 cover
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year Pocket Diary 2011

    The Museum’s 2011 week-to-view pocket diary features stunning photographs of the natural world from past years of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Pocket Diary 2012 cover
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year Pocket Diary 2012

    The Museum’s 2012 week-to-view pocket diary features stunning photographs of the natural world from past years of the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Pocket Diary 2013 cover
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year Pocket Diary 2013

    The Museum’s 2013 week-to-view pocket diary features striking photographs of the natural world from past years of the world-famous Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Pocket Diary 2013 cover
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year Pocket Diary 2013

    The Museum’s 2013 week-to-view pocket diary features striking photographs of the natural world from past years of the world-famous Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Pocket Diary 2014 cover
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year Pocket Diary 2014

    The Museum’s 2014 week-to-view pocket diary features striking photographs of the natural world from past years of the world-famous Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

  • Wild Planet cover
    Wild Planet

    Wild Planet is a unique collection of arresting images from past years of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition – the international showcase for the very best photography featuring natural subjects.

  • Women Artists cover
    Women Artists

    This stunning collection of exquisite artworks celebrates the work and lives of women artists spanning the last four centuries.

Buy art and history books online

Art of Nature book

Visit the online shop to find all our art and history books. Discover the history of natural science and natural history artworks from our unrivalled collections.

You can also buy other books, DVDs and lots of gifts inspired by the natural world.

Go shopping

New Chinese art book 

Chinese Art and the Reeves Collection book image

Enjoy beautiful natural history art from the Museum’s own collections, in our new book Chinese art and the Reeves Collection.

The book brings together some of the finest examples of Chinese natural history drawings, many of which have never before been published. It accompanies a temporary display in the Museum’s unique new Images of Nature gallery

See more new and forthcoming books

Voyages of Discovery book 

Voyages of Discovey cover image

 

View astonishing images of the natural world from 3 centuries of global exploration in our Voyages of Discovery book.

Follow in the footsteps of Darwin, Cook, Sloane and other explorers for a fascinating account of human achievement and natural wonder.

See more new and forthcoming books

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