ossamenta: Picture of an owl from a Medieval manuscript (Medieval owl)
Rain/heavy rain was forecast and consequently my plans for the weekend involved me, sofa, good book, embroidery and not going outside more than I absolutely had to. However, that Friday evening I found out that there was a temporary exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Tring on a new bird book. And it turned out that Saturday was my only available day before the exhibition closed…

Nothing for it. Off to Tring.

The exhibition showed 15-20 exquisitely drawn bird skeletons, often ”in life” rather than merely standing up, three mounted skeletons and the book. I had said to myself that if I liked the book I would put it on my Christmas wish list, as it was £35, and it would be far better if someone else spent that money :-) . But after a quick glance through the book in the shop, I decided that instant gratification was the better choice. After all, Christmas is a long time away, and the book could go out of print. If it had only been anatomical drawings, I probably would have passed. But the text is highly informative on how bird behaviour, appearance and posture are influenced by their anatomy, and vice versa. As the author says, it’s not a book about the inside of birds, it’s about the outside of birds.

John's review post is full of info and pictures, so instead of repeating most of this, I will merely link to his blog. He didn't include my favourite drawing, a diver under water, so I'll post a photograph here. Unfortunately, what with the lighting and placement of the drawings, this one in particular was very hard to photograph, as it all reflected back in the glass. You can even see parts of the emergency exit sign reflection in the lower left corner of the glass.

 photo Tring_diver_zps4723e7d6.jpg
Diver (that's loon in the US) under water, with a fish and waterlily leaves seen from below in the upper right corner.
ossamenta: Weasel skull (Default)
Yesterday was library day. I was in London from 10am to 6pm and visited three libraries. Thankfully, they all had the items I needed.

When I came to the British library I did a little detour to their Evolving English exhibition. I'm very glad I did: the first part was almost a medievalist's wet dream. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (the "Vikings raid Lindisfarne in AD793"-page)! The first page of Beowulf! Sumer is icumen in! one of the earlier (earliest?) editions of Canterbury tales! Hoccleve's Regiment of princes (with the illustration of Chaucer)! The exhibition also included early dictionaries (foreign languages (including native american languages) and slang) and bibles as well as several more recent items (i.e. later postmedieval and up to present) that I never bothered looking at - after all, I was in London for work, not pleasure per se.

The exhibitions ends on the 3rd of April, so there's still some time to see it.

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ossamenta: Weasel skull (Default)
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