Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mothing in the 1830s








































I found this rather battered copy of James Duncan's Guide to British Moths and Sphinxes [hawk-moths], published in 1836, in an antiquarian bookshop. The hand-coloured plates are particularly attractive, although some are missing (no death's head hawk-moth, unfortunately). They show the moths in colour against plants drawn in outline in the background. Double-click the images for a larger view.


























This is the delightful frontispiece.







































Hummingbird hawk-moth and caterpillar,Broad-bordered bee hawk-moth, Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth






































Lime hawk-moth, Privet hawk-moth and caterpillar






































Red underwing and Clifden Nonpareil (which has been described as 'the Holy Grail of British Moths'


















You can read a digital version of the book by clicking here   The plates are all grouped at the end of the book in this version.




11 comments:

  1. What a superb find - the illustrations are a total delight. I love old nature books and treasure the small collection of Wayside and Woodland books I have collected over the years :)

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    1. You can read an on-line version at http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015028676826;view=1up;seq=295
      Scroll down to the end to see all the plates (which you can copy/download)

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  2. Beautiful illustrations. Thanks for the link!

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    1. Good to see so many old natural history books online these days, ism't it?

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  3. What lovely images, I too love to collect books like this.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Me too - I like the idea of all the people who have used them in the past

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  4. Fantastic book- it gave me shivers! A Clifden turned up here last autumn, made my week :o)

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    1. It's one of my ambitions to see one, but v. unlikely this far north

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  5. Thank you so much for the link, the images are sublime.

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  6. Beautiful ... exquisite images, thanks for sharing. I love the old nature books!

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  7. Thank you so much for providing the link to the plates of the book - exquisite drawings, just beautiful.

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