Amazing Rare Things: The Art of Natural History in the Age of Discovery
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Amazing Rare Things: The Art of Natural History in the Age of Discovery

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  209 ratings  ·  20 reviews
This illustrated book records some defining moments in the art of natural history, taken from the world-famous collection of drawings at Windsor Castle. It accompanies the exhibition which opened at the Queen's Gallery, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in January 2007, moving to the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in Spring 2008.
Hardcover, 223 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Royal Collection
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Amazing Rare Things, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Amazing Rare Things

On the Origin of Species by Charles DarwinDesert Solitaire by Edward AbbeyThe Beak of the Finch by Jonathan WeinerIn the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel PhilbrickThe Black Nile by Dan Morrison
The International Year of Biodiversity
31st out of 59 books — 32 voters
Animals in Translation by Temple GrandinFOX TALK by L.E. CarmichaelThe Nature of Horses by Stephen BudianskyWolves by L. David MechElephant Dance by Tammie Matson
Animal Science for Adults
39th out of 109 books — 4 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 888)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
skein
How do you rate a book that is mainly art - reproductions of former artists? If the art is good, does the rating go up? If the descriptions are inane, do you take away stars?

Yes, and yes: at least for this book. The author(s) apparently have a fetish for Leonardo da Vinci - and I could have been more graphic - he's the best artist evah blah blah blah when he is clearly not the best artist even within the pages of the book, if composition and quality of representation are the criteria (and what o...more
Lana.
A quick flip through the book caught my interest when I recognised some of the pictures (or at least the style) – as note card favourites. Turns out these cherished images have a lot of history, and played quite a role in naturalist science. I borrowed the book from the library and began reading.

The book consists of informative and concise essays along with beautiful reproductions if watercolours and drawings – all which work to introduce the reader to natural art and the naturalist artists who...more
Tara
Glorious. This book explores the images from natural history records and looks at them as a form of art. I have always considered the incredible drawings of plants and animals from this era as art, and I was excited to see them examined this way by some of the masters in the field.
The writing is straightforward but thorough. Though the sections are written by different people, there is an overall sense of being pulled into the world of discovery and allowed to spend some time marvelling there.
I...more
Amy
The illustrations in this book are fantastic and the content by Attenborough is great. The introduction provides some interesting context on how art has informed biology and how biology has informed art (at least, this is what the introduction made me think about). The illustration notes impart interesting tidbits about some of the animals and plants illustrated in the plates, as well as what the artists got right . . . and what they may have embellished.

The rest of the text is less inspiring,...more
Debs
This book has got beautiful illustration pictures. However, it's about art and one of the chapters was Da Vinci's work. The topic of this book was not interested me as I flicked through the pages to see the illustrations. Or may be I was too tired reading Engineering and Maths study books.
Kate
I was delighted to discover that the work of Maria Sibylla Merian was included in this book, along with that of Alexander Marshall. They were both amazing botanical artists. The work of Leonardo da Vinci is also featured as is that of Mark Catesby (loved the Sarracenia purpurea with frog). A wonderful discovery, too, was the paper museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo. This is a book I would enjoy owning ~ I hated having to return it to the library.
Sarah
Feb 08, 2009 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: art and science lovers
Shelves: non-fiction, 500s
This book is exquisite. It covers aspects of history I had never before even considered. It is bursting with information and, even better, gorgeous illustrations. The segments on the different artist/naturalists were all fascinating, but the chapter on Maria Sibylla Merian was my favorite. She pretty much rocked in a time when it was difficult for women to do so. And she draws a mean Australian cockroach.
Kaye
David Attenborough explores the Royal Library at Windsor. The reproductions are beautiful. How nice to find Maria Sibylla Merian as one of the featured artists, along with Leonardo da VInci, Mark Catesby, and Alexander Marshall. And the paper museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo was a wonderful discovery. My problem now is deciding if this book gets shelved with natural history books or with art books.
fletch
Sep 30, 2008 fletch marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: kate townsend, for david attenborough; malic, cause he'd love the colors
Beautiful illustrations with vibrant color - looking at the pictures is pleasurable enough, although I'm also interested in reading the authors' analysis as well. After seeing the Egyptology exhibit at the Frye, I've been thinking about the ways that artists, scholars and scientists, when put to the task of documenting the "exotic," easily become effective tools of colonialist expansion.
Maria
This book is a series of very short essays about various classical (pre-modern-art) artists working in the subject of natural history. It reads like an exhibition catalogue, so don't expect anything incredibly profound, but it gave me some good insights about new artists to check out and new ways to think about people whose work I already knew.
Danielle T
Grad school suddenly cut in on recreational reading, so it took considerably longer to finish things I started late summer. David Attenborough does the introduction and a couple pages per chapter, but there's another 3 authors that cover the various artists. Absolutely gorgeous book; early scientific plates are works of art.
Lorna
Mar 16, 2008 Lorna rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: art historians and light nature interests
Good pics and occasionally interesting text. I think this was a Christmas impulse publication with a pretty cover and a extra-wide spaced blurb by Attenborough. The pics could be more numerous and it's too small to be a good coffee table book. Better to read Chrysalis or look at Cabinet of Curiosities.
Katherine
What a fascinating topic! Although the text wasn't terribly in-depth, I loved the stunning visuals captioned with David Attenborough's snarky comments on scientific accuracy.
Raphael
I loved this book. The illustrations were beautiful, and David Attenborough's introduction was especially good. I recommend _Amazing Rare Things_ wholeheartedly!
Alex
David Attenborough geeking out over Da Vinci sketches. If that doesn't sound awesome to you, neither do I.
Marts  (Thinker)
In Amazing Rare Things:... David Attenborough explores the works of five natural history artists.....
Marissa
This book got me all excited about the magic combo of art + nature. I only wish it were longer.
Yuki
Beautiful integration of art and science. Lush illustrations of flora and fauna.
Snafoo
Apr 13, 2010 Snafoo is currently reading it
Found this book through goodreads. Placed an order immediately.
Meredith
I just saw this book at 192 Books in Chelsea. It's a compilation of essays with beautifully reproduced color drawings of nature, some even by Da Vinci. It's a good coffee table book, but also one to read in small bits.
Krystle Wong
Krystle Wong marked it as to-read
Sep 15, 2014
Myrto Aristidou
Myrto Aristidou marked it as to-read
Sep 10, 2014
Kaitlin
Kaitlin marked it as to-read
Sep 10, 2014
El Nascha
El Nascha marked it as to-read
Sep 09, 2014
Stephen Harvey
Stephen Harvey marked it as to-read
Sep 06, 2014
Stephanie Krone
Stephanie Krone marked it as to-read
Sep 04, 2014
Ralee
Ralee marked it as to-read
Sep 03, 2014
Kd
Kd marked it as to-read
Sep 02, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 29 30 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle
  • The Bird: A Natural History of Who Birds Are, Where They Came From & How They Live
  • The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder
  • The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth
  • Cabinet of Natural Curiosities: The Complete Plates in Colour, 1734-1765
  • The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany
  • Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis
  • Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science
  • Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures
  • Weeds: How Vagabond Plants Gatecrashed Civilisation and Changed the Way We Think About Nature
  • The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History
  • The Peregrine
  • Field Notes on Science and Nature
  • A Spring without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply
  • Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution
  • The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss
  • Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid
  • Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth's Last Dinosaur
106444
Sir David Frederick Attenborough is a naturalist and broadcaster, who is most well-known for writing and presenting the nine "Life" series, produced in conjunction with BBC's Natural History Unit. The series includes Life on Earth (1979), The Living Planet (1984), The Trials of Life (1990), Life in the Freezer (about Antarctica; 1993), The Private Life of Plants (1995), The Life of Birds (1998), T...more
More about David Attenborough...
David Attenborough's Life on Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster Life on Earth The Life of Birds The Life of Mammals The Living Planet

Share This Book