"I Spy A..... " : 18th/19th Century-style.

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I have a small collection of antique books, one of which I’ve been looking through recently.

The spine bears the title “Goldsmith’s Animated Nature” Vol 11 (2), but the title page inside is much more elaborate.

“A HISTORY of the EARTH AND ANIMATED NATURE” by OLIVER GOLDSMITH WITH NUMEROUS NOTES FROM THE WORKS OF THE MOST DISTINGUISHED BRITISH AND FOREIGN NATURALISTS. VOL 11

Blackie & Son Queen Street Glasgow MDCCCLV (1855)

This lovely volume was in a bag of books which I rescued from a skip in a Glasgow street back in 1981.

Oliver Goldmith (c.1730-1774) was an Irish writer of poetry, plays and other subjects; his most well-known works are “The Vicar of Wakefield” and “She Stoops to Conquer”.

The book opens with pages of wonderful plates of birds, fish, mammals, etc. The opening paragraphs to the birds section give an idea of the style of writing.

The many colour plates add real charm to the book. I have scanned all the bird ones to share with you here. I hope you enjoy looking at them, too.

I will end with a description, from this book, of the Dodo, so that you will be able to identify it the next time you spot one! :-))

Aha!! I think I just spotted one, in that first plate near the top of this blog!

Comments

15 Sep, 2010
P1150022_1
jane said:

David...thank you for this brilliant blog !! I thoroughly enjoyed studying each and every photo...such fine detail...They just dont make them like this anymore !! Well done rescuing this from a skip...from which I too have had many " finds"...but nothing as lovely as this !!!

The language too...wonderful phrases like "yielding air" and "tracts of seeming space"....just love it !!
But the poor Dodo...I spotted him at the beginning too...A "silly simple bird"..:o(..sadly an ex bird...though I do remember a few years back on April 1st..a national newspaper reported the sighting of one !!

This is a blog I shall be returning to....in order to svour those photographs. Thank you for posting.BB is going to love this....his two favourite subjects rolled into one...Nature and History !

15 Sep, 2010
015
aster said:

What a brilliant find and save David ! Thank you for taking the time to put these on.
It's unbelievable that they thought the dodo so ugly that they didn't stop to think how many were left for future feasting !

15 Sep, 2010
Photo-0003_29
sixpence said:

What a glorious book you ve rescued David such lovely plates too, I too found some great books but alas recently sent them to charity with lots of plates Cassels book of knowledge had the whole set with a plate even of all the bird eggs which was great, some wonderful plates if you ever come across the set, it was the first encyclopedia ever written. Wonderful plates you ve shared with us, I also look close and study the habitat in which they are too. I wonder when you ve placed the Dodo bird could you or any one ID one for me , its on a tapestry I did some years ago, I use needle point in some parts, I shall upload a photo of it and close up of the birds, I think one is an Ibis, not sure if the one above is a pheonix, but can't for the life of me ID the other.

15 Sep, 2010
Dipper
david said:

Thank You, Jane! Yes, I love the writing style, too - very many great turns of phrase in this book, must say. Love the detail in the drawings, too. I like the one with the waders, where there is a steamship in the background.

Yes, Jane and Aster, the writer certainly made clear his thoughts on the Dodo, didn't he? No wonder this poor defenceless bird became extinct!

Hi 6d :-)) Have just left a wee bird story under your wonderful tapestry! :-)). Will be looking up Cassells tomorrow, now that you have mentioned this. :-))

15 Sep, 2010
Cullyd
simplylyn said:

This blog has just made up for a frustrating experience on my website for Restless legs! It doesn't operate like this one and there is no one to ask for help. Here we always get someone willing to give advice and kind comments on our contributions. Such a wonderful old book, David, with delightful pictures. Thanks for taking the time to put it on for us. Also I was very interested in your comments on Sixpence's tapestry. Most informative.
P.S I used to call my elder sister 'Dodo'.

16 Sep, 2010
Dipper
david said:

Lol. Lyn!!!! Am sure that this nickname wasn't based upon real observation?????????? :-))))

At least I have now "saved" those prints. Should really scan the entire volume!!!!!! How long would this take me?
Do you know, you can buy modern.copied prints of these online, for up to US $50 each? Think I found a bargain back then!

Re comments on 6d's lovely tapestry - not to be taken as literal explanation, as there are many!

Re the website you mentioned - have PM'd for more info.

Just happy that this helped relieve your frustration. :-))X

16 Sep, 2010
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Read this a few times David to fully appreciate the detail and wonderful information contained here.A fantastic find and sometimes things just meant to be that someone such as yourself would find such a treasure and save it ..

Thank you so much for sharing really interesting to note the old name for things ..Isle of France ..Mauritius ? The redbreast ..no mention of Robin is that a recent name ?

The gold crested wren .. just a goldcrest now ..as many of the birds appear British in the plates wonder if the cranes and storks were a common sight here when this was published ? So many questions .. sorry just goes to show how much enjoyed it and sure to return to it many times over .Brilliant.

16 Sep, 2010
Dipper
david said:

Hi, Bb!

Yes, this would seem to be an old name for Mauritius, old home of the Dodo.

Robin seems to have come first (related to the wren). Many legends pertaining to its "redbreast", aren't there?

I doubt whether some of the cranes or storks were ever residents, though. This book does cover emus, cassowaries, ostriches, et al.

Glad that you enjoyed my delve into the past/ my "archives". ;-)))

16 Sep, 2010
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Aye David and some strange ones relating to the wren too , you familiar with the old St Stephens Day tradition ?

Just wondered about the cranes as egrets were once common here then disappeared before returning recently ..think your find is wonderful as could be catalyst for so many topics .

16 Sep, 2010
Dipper
david said:

Yes, I am!!!

As for catalysts - was thinking that 6d's Ancient egypt tapestry, with its bird symbolism, could be a great one!!
Was thinking about the eagle of Ancient Rome, then, began to see how much powerful birds have featured in recent, and current, traditions, too (not always for the good of the birds involved, or us as people). :-(((

Such a shame! :-((

16 Sep, 2010
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Agree David symbolism for birds could provide a lot of interesting info some been good for the more charming types and others been portrayed as dark and evil .

Suppose it stems from applying human characteristics to them ..quite wrong of course , we all love Robins but in fact a very aggressive territorial bird that will fight to the death on occasion.

You and Sixpence have certainly provided a great deal of food for thought and have some ideas as a result .Will pm you tomorrow to gauge your views.

17 Sep, 2010
Photo-0003_29
sixpence said:

Thank you David

18 Sep, 2010
P1150022_1
jane said:

Hi David..Told you I would be back !! Just looking at one of the prints where the kite is also called a glead ! So I checked it out and it was known by this name by both Shakespeare and Wordsworth..who wrote a poem in honour:
"With admiration would he lift his eyes.
To the wide-ruling eagle and his land.....
..The sailing glead,the wheeling swallow..."

Should I get out more ? LOL !!

18 Sep, 2010
Dipper
david said:

You're very welcome, dear 6d! :-))

Oh Jane!!! Yes, Please!!!! Get them all out!!! LOL!!!

You certainly have great eyesight, spotting the names in the faded text!!!

"Bird names in classic literature" (might well fit in with birds in history, etc??). also, still thinking about your Yorkshire "spuggies", and the regional "nickname variations around the Uk for sparrows, and other birds - You have just launched me into another flight of fancy! :-)))

18 Sep, 2010
P1150022_1
jane said:

Lol David ! Just what I was thinking !! Next thing we will be talking about the Albatross...one of my favourite poems ! Lol....

19 Sep, 2010
Singing
geecee said:

Great to see extracts from such a fabulous book, David, what a treasure.

20 Sep, 2010
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

This fascinating and informative blog has been nominated for the new category..Birds in Art,History and Legend !!!

20 Sep, 2010
015
aster said:

I look forward to reading more :)

20 Sep, 2010
Dipper
david said:

Oh, Jane!!! Many legends attached to the albatross, and not many nice ones, either!! And here's me, a seafarin', God-fearin' man, in another virtual world - LOL!!! Would love to see a pic of one here, though (perhaps the day will come?) :-)))

I'm enjoying reading excerpts from this tome, Gee - What??? You want me to scan the whole book, aster? :-D))

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