Natural Histories

23 02 2017

watsonandtheshark-original  screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-10-23-35-pmtrenches-france-chauvet

This week I have been reading the book that accompanies a new BBC series, Natural histories. This traces the cultural history of 25 animal species, and how each animal has been portrayed and interpreted through human history. It is such a rich and fascinating topic and the book is full of interesting tangents, from the 1778 painting above “Watson and the Shark” to the Chauvet cave paintings of lions (below) via bugonia (the Ancient Greek belief that bees were spontaneously created from the flesh of decomposing cows), Medieval beliefs that butteflies – contrary to modern sensibilities – were allied to Satan, and the adventures of the Victorian naturalists.

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