All the Animated Beings in Nature: An Illustrated Natural History Dictionary Published in 1802

July 20, 2015

New in our shop is this delightful natural history book which describes itself as a "Complete Summary of Zoology. Containing a Full and Succinct Description of all the Animated Beings in Nature".

Though it seems unlikely that the editors managed to include every animal on earth, the book does name and describe a staggering number of creatures, including the dodo: "A large, unwieldy bird, found in the Isle of France, of an awkward, clumsy, form inelegant in its figure, and inactive in all its motions; appearing among birds, what the sloth does among quadrupeds, an helpless unresisting creature, incapable of either defence or flight...". Poor dodo.

But the best parts are surely the numerous, slightly naive hand-coloured illustrations. Below, a selection of the best. Personally, I'm partial to the guinea pig, the sloth, and the "little owl".

Sloth: