Picturing nature : American nineteenth-century zoological illustration /

The panorama of American animal study, from the natural history of Alexander Wilson and John James Audubon through the development of professional zoology and its large institutions, provides the backdrop for Ann Blum's study of illustration styles. Over the course of the nineteenth century, th...

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Main Author: Blum, Ann Shelby, 1950-
Format: Book
Published:Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, ©1993.
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Based on the quality and quantity of illustrations, Picturing Nature is more than a "coffee table" book: it not only depicts 19th-century zoological illustrations, but also explores in depth the illustrators and practitioners of the zoological sciences in the US. Blum investigates two major aspects: Using illustrations as evidence, she shows how zoology in the US diverged into two separate lines, natural history and professional zoology. Illustrations for the former have the organism drawn in its habitat such that the illustration itself becomes part of the text. In contrast, as zoology became more professionalized, its illustrations came to contain only parts of the organism; readers must then refer to the text to make sense of the graphics. Some of the naturalists, illustrators, and/or zoologists included are Rembrandt and Titian Peale, Alexander Wilson, Charles Lesueur, Thomas Say, John James Audubon, and Louis and Alexander Agassiz. In an integrated fashion Blum also treats how American and European biology differed, again reflected in the illustrations. Magnificent plates and figures; chapter notes; unified bibliography. A short appendix on the technical differences among etchings, engraving, lithography, etc., would have been helpful. All levels. L. T. Spencer; Plymouth State College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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