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About Natural History

The tradition of natural history illustration streches back over many centuries, originally as a form of scientific recording, but gradually becoming increasingly decorative with the desire to show birds and animals in naturalistic poses and surroundings. Until the early C20th most illustrations of this type were produced as copper plate engravings which were then hand coloured, so each individual print would show some slight variation. Bound into books or portfolios, usually with a tissue interleaf to prevent the colour offsetting onto the facing page, those illustrations which have survived intact often retain their colour well, so reproduce beautifully.


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