The first is one I just got this past Christmas -- Amazing Rare Things: The Art of Natural History in the Age of Discovery by David Attenborough, Susan Owens, Martin Clayton, and Rea Alexandratos. It focuses on five natural history artists--Leonardo da Vinci, Cassiano dal Pozzo, Alexander Marshal, Maria Sybilla Merian, and Mark Catesby--and their works that are now held in the Royal Collection. They each represent a period in time, from about 1470-1730.
I am intrigued by natural history artists and actually have five prints hanging over my tv (that are rotated in from a collection I have -- right now they are a squid, a crab, a pineapple, an octopus, and molluscs). It was interesting to read about the diverse backgrounds of each of these artists and about what inspired them to draw. This isn't a super comprehensive natural history art book but more a snapshot of the works of a few prolific pioneers.
Then I read Jane Goodall's 50 Years at Gombe, which has been on my shelves for a few years now (the 50 years was in 2010). If you are a Goodall fan, most of the information and history in the book will be a review but it's a nice collection of some of the National Geographic photographs that brought Jane to the world's attention and some more recent photos of the land and the current chimps. (I happen to own the original August 1963 Nat Geo that first featured the chimpanzees.) This book is great for a basic overview and a call to action. It lists many of the organizations that are supported by the Jane Goodall Institute and the ways for people all around the world to make a difference in the lives of the chimpanzees and the humans around them. I was extremely happy to hear that my best friend donated to the Institute this year instead of sending me Christmas presents. (I donated to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary instead of shopping for her.)
Have you read any great nature/natural history books lately?
Returning to the roots,