This 400-Year-Old Book’s Illustrations Were Done Entirely With Feathers
Long before people had computers, publishers used other methods to design books but this one beats them all. In 1618, Dionisio Minaggio, Chief Gardener of the State of Milan, illustrated a book using only feathers. The Feather Book or The Baroque Bestiary (Il Bestario Barocco) contains 156 images, and it’s still in a good enough condition to allow us to admire amazing 400-year-old artistry and craftsmanship.
113 of The Feather Book images have birds as their central figures. According to Eleanor MacClean, Librarian of the Blacker-Wood Library of Zoology and Ornithology at McGill University, which now holds the collection, the bird images contain “possibly the oldest preserved bird skins in existence, which makes them of importance taxonomically as well as artistically.” However, there are others, portraying interesting scenes. For example, a bloody patient enduring a 17th-century dentist and a patient man, waiting for his dog to finish pooping. Tradesmen, hunters, musicians, and actors also appear in the illustrations.
This book is not only a valuable historical piece but an entertaining read as well.
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