Nov 302011

In 1799 the seventy-year old Richard Hall was looking forward to the launch of a new magazine – to give it its correct title “The Naturalist’s pocket magazine, or compleat cabinet of the curiosities and beauties of nature : containing elegant coloured prints of birds, fishes, flowers, insects, quadrupeds, shells and other natural productions, with descriptions”.

It seems to have run to eight volumes containing 429 hand-coloured engravings, covering, as the title implies, just about everything in the flora and fauna line known to man.

Magazine001.jpg New Magazine

Some of the pictures are delightful. The extant magazines tend to have been broken up to make individual coloured prints and these are available for purchase at around £70 each (typically from dealers such as Grey Heron at So we see:


A Fennec or Zerda Fennec or Zerda


A Flying Maucauco Flying Maucauco


Grunting Ox A Grunting Ox (I wonder how they differ from the non-grunting variety?)

Some twenty five species of animal native to Australia are mentioned, many of them for the first time. The initial volume came out in 1799, with the remainder following over the next four years.

The Garrulous Roller, Garrulous Roller

The Green Goldfinch Green Goldfinch

The Man of War Bird Man of War Bird

The Magazine was indeed beautifully illustrated and I imagine that Richard would have considered it sixpence well spent. The images were certainly a far cry from the highly imaginative pictures in the school books Richard encountered as a child, and which I still have, with their unicorns and ape-dogs!

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