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

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".



Laura Massey
Laura Massey


Alembic founder Laura Massey holds a bachelor's degree in the history of science from Georgia Tech and a master's in book history (focusing on medieval and early modern scientific and medical books,) from the Institute of English Studies at the University of London. She has worked as a cataloguer, bookseller, and blogger in libraries and bookshops in the United States and Britain.