Each book presented here has been chosen for its scientific and artistic merit, and each one is accompanied by an essay from a museum expert, explaining its role in the development of natural history. The books featured include the oldest book in the Library, the 1469 edition of Pliny the Elder's Historia Naturalis; Albertus Seba's striking Locupletissimi Rerum published from 1734; Mark Catesby's The History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, the first published account of the flora and fauna of this area; and the stunning line drawings from Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in 1798. The Library of the Natural History Museum contains one of the most exciting and comprehensive collections of natural history literature and artworks to be found anywhere in the world.
Judith Magee has managed the art collections of the Library of the Natural History Museum, London, for over 10 years. She is the author of Art and Nature: Three Centuries of Natural History Art from Around the World.