Natural History

Llannerch, Denbighshire, Wales, c.1667, unknown artist.

Four centuries of horticultural endeavours in the modest plots of the ‘lower orders’. 

Wall painting of a bird in a garden, Pompeii, first century AD.

The role birds played in the lives – intellectual, practical, emotional and otherwise – of men and women in the ancient world. 

The exotic dead animals that appeared in the menageries of Victorian Britain’s grand exhibitions were far from perfect specimens. Stuffed, stitched, painted hybrids – accuracy was not a priority.

The real and mythical dangers of the wilderness.

Hippopotamus amphibius, an illustration from William Jardine’s The Naturalist’s Library, 1833-43.

The discovery in Victorian London of the remains of ancient animals – and a fascination with their modern descendants – helped to transform people’s ideas of the deep past, as Chris Manias reveals.

Evolution and religion went head-to-head in a landmark case of 1925.

Outside the London of Shakespeare's time, writes Anthony Dent, coaches were few and most travellers were horse-borne.

Asok Kumar Das describes how Mughal miniatures illuminate the flightless bird from the Indian Ocean, extinct since 1681.

Charles Chenevix Trench finds it ironical that horsed cavalry attained something near perfection just at the point when the military discipline was relegated to history.

Our ancestors were deeply devoted to their dogs; Beatrice Johnston describes how a great French dog-lover declared that the greatest defect of the species was that they ‘lived not long enough’.