Thursday, 7 August 2008

One of the first great bird books, 1555

Belon, Pierre, 1517-1564.
"Ciconia" and "Hemantopus,"
L'histoire de la nature des oyseaux, avec leurs descriptions; & nafs portraicts retirez du naturel: escrit en sept livres.
Paris: G. Cavellat, 1555. From the library of J. van den Heuven, 1820.
--the French naturalist Pierre Belon studied medicine at Paris and botany at Wittenberg, before extensive travels in Greece and the Middle East. His interest in comparative anatomy also led to a parallel volume on fishes. Belon drew moral lessons from the behavior he observed, and the white stork (Ciconia) is depicted here holding food for its young. The woodcut illustrations to Belon's book were made by C.L. Gourdet from drawings by P. Gourdet. See further down for comparative anatomy.

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