In this essay, Nathan Flis identifies paintings by English artist Francis Barlow as the sources for illustrations of exotic birds in Ray and Willughby’s Ornithology. The process of painting played a key role in establishing the likenesses of the birds, which involved the observation of live specimens and comparison with graphical and textual precedents. At the same time, popular prints by Barlow depicting the same birds cast the creatures as objects of wonder and cultural lore. Barlow’s role in the Ornithology is unexpected because his popular works stood at odds with the Royal Society’s mandate to describe nature objectively. The range of Barlow’s productions highlights the plurality of—and tensions between—experiences of the natural world in the seventeenth century.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 263-300
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.