The Bird Illustrated, 1550-1900: From the Collections of the New York Public Library

Joseph Kastner, Author, Miriam T. Gross, Photographer, Roger Tory Peterson, Designed by ABRAMS $31.75 (127p) ISBN 978-0-8109-0746-1
This handsomely produced volume is a catalogue to an exhibition at the New York Public Library. Kastner, author of A Species of Eternity, introduces each type of bird covered (predator, game, wader, field and woodland, swimmer, exotic); Gross, curator at the library, comments on both bird and artist of each illustration. The selections are of historical as well as ornithological interest. Predatory birds were favorites of the earliest artists, notes Kastner; the physiological details are so accurate that the illustrators must have been falconers. A drawing of the dodo by George Edwards resembles Tenniel's for Alice in Wonderland; Gross remarks that both artists probably worked from the same oil painting of a live dodo. There are sketches of birds of paradise without legs; the first specimens that arrived in Europe in the 17th century were mounted that way, and fooled the scientific community for years. American artists are well represented: Mark Catesby, Titian Peale, Alexander Wilson, J. J. Audubon. This is a splendid collection for birder and bibliophile alike. (March)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
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