Nature within the Pages: Flora, Fauna, Anatomy and the rest of the World

Details of items featured i the exhibitionChrist Church Library's exhibition ‘Nature within the Pages: Flora, Fauna, Anatomy and the rest of the World’ will look at how illustrations have been used to assist in the spread of knowledge throughout time.

Explore illustrations and explanations of the Natural World, from imaginative interpretations of hedgehogs, and mythical barnacle trees said to bear geese, to engravings of weather and teeth - even through the microscope for a closer look at ‘animalcules’.

The four main cases are themed ‘Flora’, ‘Fauna’, ‘Anatomy’ and ‘The rest of the World’; including fantastic representations of gourds, rhinos, dissections and even the geology of Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle.

Delve into these collections of creatively illustrated books published from 1549 to 1859, and discover the development of the Natural Sciences and the important role of illustrations within that journey.

If you’re feeling inspired, the cases are accompanied with a display of books from the Library’s modern collection that visitors are welcome to peruse. The titles are available for loan to Christ Church members.

Aphelocoma coerulescens & Diospyros virginiana - AudubonDue to its incredible size (measuring a metre tall!), we are unable to display our Audubon’s ‘The birds of America’, an amazing work containing hundreds of life-size, hand-coloured illustrations of a variety of birds found in the United States. However, we are excited to have a ‘baby elephant folio’ copy on display, a smaller modern reproduction of the original, which is there so that you can leaf through the pages and still get to see the beautiful illustrations.

Another display within the exhibition is a fantastic contribution of Christ Church’s Archivist which accompanies the case on ‘Anatomy’. Christ Church’s Anatomy School was built in 1766 and remained the site of the Anatomy School until 1942. We have on display a remarkable photograph of inside the Anatomy School showing some of the skeletons, fossils and jars of specimens used in teaching. These items are now housed in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. This photograph is shown together with an accounts book of the Anatomy School detailing the purchases made of a variety of items including equipment and many organs and body parts of various animals used in dissections.

A Christ Church Library Exhibition curated by Leanne Grainger, Graduate Library Trainee.

This exhibition ran from 17th May to 16th August 2019