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Icones Animalium

Drawing of a cat, from the Icones Animalium, by Conrad Gesner, Zurich, 1560 edition, p. 28. Drawing of a cat, from the Icones Animalium, by Conrad Gesner, Zurich, 1560 edition, p. 28. Smithsonian Library, Washington, USA.

The Icones Animalium is a mid-sixteenth century natural history book by the Swiss naturalist and bibliographer, Conrad Gesner (1516-1565; also known as Konrad Gesner, Conrad von Gesner, other spellings also exist). The book was first published in Zurich in 1553.  

Gesner was also the author of Historiae animalium, a 4,500 page four-volume encyclopaedia that appeared between 1551-1558, including Quadrupeds (1551), Amphibians (1554), Birds (1555) and Fishes (1558). A fifth folio on snakes appeared in 1587. Icones Animalium is an abbreviated version of the first two histories (Quadrupeds and Amphibians). It was first published in 1553, with a second edition appearing in 1560. The book was used by some European embroiderers as a source of patterns for their work. For example, the catte embroidery by Mary Queen of Scots (part of the Oxburgh embroidered hangings), derives from this source.

Source: BATH, Michael (2008). Emblems for a Queen: the Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots, London: Archetype Publications, Ltd.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 4th July 2016).

GVE

Last modified on Wednesday, 03 May 2017 18:52