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Gallicolumba-luzonica,-luzon-bleeding-heart-and-another-dove_011477_Comp.jpg

 

Love flows from our bookshelves........ (examples from our book collection)

 

Birds Britannia : how the British fell in love with birds

 

Darwin : for the love of science

 

For love of birds : the story of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 1889-1988

 

For the love of animals : true stories from the famous

 

For the love of bees : the story of Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey

 

"For the love of gardens" : a biography of H.B. & L.A. Dunington-Grubb

 

 

 

Hug the bug : for love of true bugs

 

In a desert garden : love and death among the insects

 

Incoming! or, Why we should stop worrying and learn to love the meteorite

 

The infested mind : why humans fear, loathe, and love insects

 

The life and love of the Insect

 

Life, love, and reptiles : an autobiography of Sherman A. Minton, Jr., M.D

 

The lost history of the canine race : our 15,000-yearlove affair with dogs

 

A love affair with birds : the life of Thomas Sadler Roberts

 

Love among the butterflies : the travels and adventures of a Victorian Lady


Love, labour & loss : 300 years of British livestock farming in art


The love of elephants

 

The love of Nature among the Romans during the later decades of the Republic and the first century of the Empire.

 

The love of roses : from myth to modern culture

 

Love, war & circuses : the age old relationship between elephants and humans

 

My love must wait : the story of Matthew Flinders


An obsession with butterflies : our long love affair with a singular insect

 

Orchid fever : a horticultural tale of love, lust and lunacy

 

The poetical language of flowers; or, the pilgrimage of love.

 

The ten trusts : what we must do to care for the animals we love

 

Under water to get out of the rain : a love affair with the sea

 

Wild love affair : essence of Florida's native orchids

 

 

To learn more about our collections please visit the Library & Archives home page where you will find both our online Library and Archive catalogues as well as our art themed pages.

 

The image used above is a watercolour from the John Reeves Collection of Zoological Drawings from Canton, 'Gallicolumba luzonica, luzon bleeding-heart and another dove' large Series plate 32, and is available via the NHM Picture Library site.

 

Learn more about John Reeves and his collection.

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This week we have 32 new book additions covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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This week we have 22 new book additions covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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It seems extraordinary now, but if you had entered a lottery in 1786, you might have won a whole museum. The tickets were priced at one guinea each, and the museum up for grabs was that of Sir Ashton Lever, collector of natural history and ethnographical specimens.

 

The museum was based in Leicester Square, London, and contained approximately 27,000 items. Leicester House, a large mansion, cost Lever £600 a year to lease, and when it opened in February 1775 he charged visitors half a guinea to enter, a large sum at the time. Despite the cost, the Leverian Museum proved popular. Those who visited found sixteen rooms of specimens interspersed with corridors lined with cases containing even more items. One room was separate and was billed as containing “very curious monkies and monsters”; ladies were warned that they may not have wished to enter for fear of being disgusted. As well as the specimens, there was a library containing books on natural history. Interestingly, advertisements at the time specify that good fires were to be found in the galleries – not something that one would expect to find in museums now!

 

 

 

 

As well as the general public, artists and natural historians of the time came to draw and study the exhibitions. Lever added to the collections frequently, stocking the cases with zoological and ethnographical items brought back from expeditions such as those of Captain Cook, from exotic locations such as the Americas, Africa and the Far East.

 

 

[Image above] – “Bird display. A perspective view of the grand saloon and gallery [of the Leverian Museum] from A Companion to the [British] Museum (1790) by Sir Ashton Lever.” NHM Picture Library Ref 036756

 

 

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Sarah Stone (ca.1760-1844), the daughter of a fan painter, began painting at the museum in the late 1770s. Her baptism certificate has not been found, so the precise date of her birth is unknown.  She came to the attention of Lever and was commissioned by him to formally record specimens. Her artwork is considered of great importance as it gives some idea of the species collected by explorers and of the long-since demolished museum. Some of the animals she painted are now extinct, or have endangered populations.

 

The Library at the Natural History Museum has a large collection of Stone’s watercolours. Many of the known paintings and drawings in existence (over 900 in total) are of birds, such as the image above of a mandarin duck, Aix galericulata.

 

Stone’s use of colour and shadow, delicate brushwork and faithful representation of her subjects made her work distinctive and admirable at the time. Although these qualities are still prized, some of her drawings can look ‘stiff’ to modern eyes. In particular, the sloth on the left in the picture below looks incapable of climbing its branch. However, this may also be the fault of the taxidermy techniques of the period.

 

[Image on right]   “Mandarin duck, Aix galericulata. Sarah Stone, 1788.” NHM Picture Library Ref 024290

 

 

 

 

So who did win the museum? For five weeks after the lottery, no-one knew. Finally James Parkinson, a barrister, came forward to claim his winnings. The chosen ticket had belonged to his late wife and he had only come across it when sorting through her estate.

 

He owned the museum for twenty years, though kept the ‘Leverian’ name, and oversaw a move to a different site in Albion Place, south of Blackfriars Bridge. Most of Stone’s drawings are dated to before Parkinson took over the museum. In 1806, the collections were broken up and sold at auctions lasting for sixty five days (excluding Sundays and the King’s birthday). Interestingly, two of the lots were Stone’s own watercolours of the specimens.

 

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) webpage hosts some books which contain paintings by Sarah Stone. Some examples are here:

http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/29568342

http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/29568322

 

 

You can also see more of Sarah Stone’s artwork in the forthcoming Images of Nature Gallery exhibition on women artists, which will be on display the Museum from March 2014 and is accompanied by a book by Special Collections Librarian Andrea Hart. Keep a look out for forthcoming blogs providing more information about the new exhibition next month and then throughout 2014/2015.

 

 

Bibliography:

Jackson, C.E. (1998). Sarah Stone: Natural Curiosities from the New Worlds. London: Merrell Publishers Ltd.

 

[Image below] – “Pale-throated three-toed sloth, Bradypus tridactylus. Sarah Stone, c. 1781-1785.” NHM Picture Library Ref 024334

 

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This week we have 27 new book additions covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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Another bumper EVOLVE edition (Issue 18 Winter 2014) for the Library & Archives collections and staff!

 

Women Artists

Andrea Hart (Special Collections Librarian) gives us a prelude to the forthcoming exhibition in the Images of Nature Gallery which begins in March. Over the following 16 months the work of numerous female artists will be featured, in display cases whose contents will change every 4 months. This exhibition is FREE. A book to accompany the exhibition will be published in February.

 

The Importance of Trifles: Sir William Flinders Petrie

Karolyn Shindler (L&A Associate) explores the fascinating life of this Egyptologist and archaeologist.

 

The Museum's War effort

Daisy Cunynghame (Archivist) discovers the impact that World War One had on the Museum's life and how the staff contributed to the national war effort. 

 

Hereward Chune Dollman

Hellen Pethers (Reader Services Librarian) looks at the life and work of this British Entomologist, and his collections housed in the Library & Archives and Science Departments.

 

Evolve is available to purchase via the Museum website, in the shop or members

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This week we have 32 new book additions covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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This week we have 32 new book additions covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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Tyrannosaurus rex NHMPL 002915.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Although Neave Parker (1910-1961) had artistic ambitions from an early age, he was dissuaded from pursuing them by his father and was not allowed to attend art school. Instead, he took up employment in a bank but after just one disasterous week, he was firmly but kindly advised to seek another profession.

 

After working as a surveyor for a short while he then went on to serve in the Royal Air Force during World War II, working in the Photographic Unit. It was not until Parker was discharged that he finally was able to pursue art as a career. After making the acquaintance of Maurice Burton (1898-1992), a Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum, London and also Honorary Science Editor at the Illustrated London News, he began a collaboration with Burton to produce animal illustrations for a non-technical audience. The first of his drawings of prehistoric animals appeared in the Illustrated London News on 30 September, 1950.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burton then introduced him to Dr William Elgin Swinton (1900-1994), a palaeontologist at the Museum, and it was through this collaboration that Parker completed numerous dinosaur illustrations. These featured in a range of publications including The Dinosaurs (1970) and Dinosaurs: their discovery and their world (1961). He was also commissioned by the Museum to produce a series of reconstructions which were sold as postcards.

 

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Parker pioneered the art of restoring entire palaeo-environments of dinosaurs and was highly regarded by his scientific associates at the Museum. His drawings in monochrome gouache and wash drawings became trademarks of his distinctive style, which vividly represented the formerly held opinions of how such creatures appeared.

 

Parker's other passions in life was food, beer, pistol shooting (he was a British Open Champion), photography and films. It was in a cinema that he suffered a fatal heart attack in 1961.

 

Learn more about our art collections and see some great examples via our Library & Archives pages.

 

Further reading:

 

Debus, Allen A. (1987) 'Neave Parker: vertebrate palaeontology's masterful necromancer', The Earth Science News, vol. 38, No. 11 pp.21-24

Debus, Allen A. and Debus, Diane E. (2002) Paleoimagery: the evolution of dinosaurs in art, Jefferson N. C.:McFarland & Co., Publishers

 

Paracyclotosaurus NHMPL 004091.jpgCetiosaurus NHMPL 002917.jpg

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This week we have 25 new book additions covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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One of the gems of London's history that you can still visit today (and for free), has to be amongst the trees and bushes of the small islands at the southern end of Crystal Palace Park, Sydenham, London.

 

Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (1807-1894) was the natural history artist and sculptor, whose partnership with Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892) produced the dinosaur reconstructions that you can see today in the park.

 

Hawkins was born in London and was an established artist displaying his work between 1832-1849 in prominent institutions such as the Royal Academy. His skill was demonstrated in the plates for publications such as 'Illustrations of Indian Zoology' (1830-35) and 'The Zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle' (parts 4/5, 1838-43).

 

 

 

 

 

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It was his collaboration with Richard Owen, first Director of the Natural History Museum, London and distinguished vertebrate palaeontologist, that is arguably his best known legacy. He was appointed by the Crystal Palace Company to create thirty three life sized concrete models of extinct animals and dinosaurs (funding cuts meant only around half were produced). These were to be part of a geological time zone in part of the park, which housed the relocated great glass exhibition hall.

 

Owen estimated the size and overall shape of the animals, but left Hawkins to sculpt the models, under his direct supervision. Together they produced the first public display of life sized reconstructions of prehistoric life. They are a representation of the scientific knowledge of that time, unveiled to the world in 1854, five years before Charles Darwin published 'On the origin of species'.

 

To celebrate the near completion of the project Hawkins held a dinner party for Richard Owen and twenty distinguished scientists of the time. Dinner was held in the partially finished mould of the largest sculpture, the Iguanodon.

 

Icthyosaurus & Plesiosaurus NHMPL 011937.jpgPlesiosaurus NHMPL 046677.jpg

 

The NHM Library & Archives hold a collection of original Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins material, including watercolour and pen and ink sketches, showing his thoughts and designs for his geological creations. Also included is an invitation and menu from the unique New Years Eve party. In the Museum's scientific collections are a handful of surviving minature versions of the models that Hawkins produced prior to embarking on the final full sized ones.

 

Hawkins went on to live a life of many highs and lows, including a number of years working and lecturing in America. He returned to England in 1879 where he remained until his death in Putney on 27th January 1894.

 

Crystal Palace itself was destroyed by fire in 1936 and the models are his unique (and slightly haunting) legacy to London and a must see for all!

 

Further reading:

 

Bramwell, Valerie (2008) All in the bones: a biography of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, Philadelphia: Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

Iguanodon Model NHMPL 004699.jpgCrystal Palace Dinosaurs NHMPL 043503.jpg

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This week we have 36 new book additions covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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This week we have 36 new book additions covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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Written by Lisa Di Tommaso (Special Collections Librarian)

 

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In usual circumstances, most people would be reluctant to describe a blood-sucking fly as beautiful, but when drawn by the Italian illustrator, Amedeo John Engel Terzi, it becomes a surprisingly appropriate term.

 

Terzi was born in 1872 in Palermo in southern Italy. Both his father and brother worked as artists and Terzi soon followed in their footsteps.  In 1900, Terzi joined a field trip to Ostia in the Roman Campagna, led by two tropical disease researchers, Louis Sambon and George Carmichael Low, conducting experiments exploring the relationship between mosquitoes and malaria. Although principally engaged to be the official artist for the expedition, Terzi also joined in the actual experiments, becoming a human guinea pig. Somewhat miraculously, the three men did not contract malaria themselves but many who worked in the open in the same area did, helping to prove the theory that malaria was transmitted by mosquitoes.

 

 

 

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Terzi travelled to England not long after this field trip, and after a short stint at the London School of Tropical Medicine, he joined the staff at the Natural History Museum where he worked, apart for a short time during the Second World War, for the rest of his working life.

 

Throughout his tenure at the Museum, Terzi executed a multitude of illustrations, mostly of parasitic insects, including a variety of Diptera (insects with a single pair of wings such as flies and mosquitoes), beetles and weevils. Terzi himself estimated that he completed 37,000 drawings in the course of his career which were published in 55 books and more than 500 other publications.

 

 

 

 

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One of Terzi’s greatest artistic achievements was his depiction of British blood-sucking flies. Large-scale watercolours, these were originally intended to be displayed in the Museum galleries, but they were considered to be of such exceptional quality that they were instead used as plates in Edward E. Austen's Illustrations of British Blood-Sucking Flies (1906). The NHM Library & Archives hold 58 of these drawings in its collections, which were produced over a 30 year period. We also hold many other drawings, sketches and watercolours drawn by Terzi as well as some notes and correspondence.

 

 

 

 

He was well respected by his colleagues and students of entomology for his accurate and detailed illustrations, and remains so today. A new species Culex terzii was named for Terzi after he recognised it as being different to other similar species. He died in 1956 at the age of 84, leaving an important and lasting legacy to the science of entomology and research into the transmission of disease.Rhynchophorus-ferrugineus-coconut-palm-weevil_022735_IA.jpg

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Migrating an old card catalogue from hard copy to digital form is a complex task. When we made the switch in 1998, tens of thousands of items made it across – but thanks to our recent stock audit, we’ve turned up a few treasures that didn’t. Although these items still exist in the card catalogue and on the shelf, they may not have been recorded electronically. With such a vast and rich collection, an extra copy or two might escape notice. For this reason, we close annually to audit our stock.

 

 

Due to the size of the Library collection, we choose a section each year to audit. Recently, we’ve been focused on ensuring our Special Collections are all present and correct. For most staff, this involves printing a list of what the catalogue says we have on the shelf, and manually comparing it to what is on the shelf. If books are on the shelf but not the catalogue, they need to be added – usually, from scratch.

 

 

The Cataloguing Team spent our recent audit (November 2013) rediscovering and cataloguing some pretty interesting stuff – so we thought we’d share them with you. We don’t always know a lot about them though, so the pictures may have to speak for themselves!

 

 

 

A labour of love this year involved unravelling our catalogue entries for Archetypa Studiaque Patris (Hoefnagel, 1592). We hold three copies, all with different plates bound in different orders, inside different bindings, with different histories. One copy of the three is coloured. In its coloured form, this title is exceptionally rare. We can’t be sure our copy was coloured at the time of publication, but we hope so – for artwork 420 years old, the colours are still fantastic.     Archetypa-Studiaque-Patris-(1592)-frog.jpg  

  Archetypa-Studiaque-Patris-(1592)-mouse-.jpg

 

Our audit is also a good chance to monitor our collections for items which may need some level of conservation -- this set is a prime example (image below). Chemicals used in the tanning process of this binding have become acidic over time, turning the leather flaky and brittle. Using the books n this state will damage them further, while leaving them on the shelf might lead to their neighbours (and librarians!) getting discoloured as well. So, off to the conservation studio...

 

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More unusual was finding “an old pin with the twisted wire head” taped into a page, and a retention request! Adhesive tape and rusty pins aren’t good for books, so they’re both being removed by our paper conservator. The pin will be kept, but in a small pocket or envelope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some other new favourites included…

 

The Dry Fly Man’s Handbook (Halford, 1897). We hold the original manuscript, but you’ll have to be the judge of whether the manuscript is more or less fascinating than Volume 2 – with real fishing flies!

Our-manuscript-copy-of-The-Dry-Fly-Man's-Handbook.jpg  Real-fishing-flies-from-The-Dry-Fly-Man's-Handbook.jpg

 

A Victorian tale of murder and mayhem unfolds in Nemesis among the beetles (Gould, Britton Jr., c.1875)…

 

Nemesis-Among-the-Beetles.jpg  A-drama-unfolds-in-Nemesis-Among-the-Beetles.jpg

 

A 20th century scrapbook of the author’s (Richard T. Lewis) published and original artwork, mounted side by side:

 

And last but not least, 5 binders full of a stamp collection focused on butterflies and moths (complete with negatives). 

 

I wonder what we’ll rediscover next year? We shall keep you posted.

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