I have to admit a lot of the time when I’m working on the in-situ work here at Derry and Raphoe I do not even open up the book and look through the text. It’s not that I’m disinterested, I’m usually just going through the motions and trying to make boxes or do little repairs as quickly as possible. I am often more interested in the book structure than what the book actually contains. Plus the majority of this particular collection is in Latin, a language I know next to nothing about.
Yesterday, I had to look through a couple of pages of the book I was working on and was excited to discover that the book I had randomly chosen from the box was not in Latin and unlike a large portion of the collection this book was not religious. The title of the little treasure was A History of the Earth, and Animated Nature (1776). The book is divided up into several chapters describing Animals of the Hare Kind, of the Rat Kind, and of the Hedge-Hog or Prickly Kind among others. Along with descriptions of the animals there were lots of printed plates with illustrations of various animals. Here are some of my favorites:
As a native Texan I couldn’t resist including the Armadillo. He was listed under the Quadrupedes covered with Scales or Shells, instead of Hair chapter. I like that this particular armadillo hangs out among ancient ruins.
The Ant Bear otherwise known as the ant-eater. I have never seen an ant-eater in real life but the pictures I have seen of them do look like little bears. Like the armadillo, this bear seems to enjoy foraging amongst historical artifacts.
I think this one might be my favorite mostly because of the animal name. It is easy to see how the decision was made, the strange animal has spots like a leopard and several camel-like features. Put them together and there you have it, Camelopard.
Lucky for me this book needed a headband repair. This meant I needed to leaf through several pages to find the right spot to start my repair. Must have been my lucky day.