The Cabinet of Natural History

Color illustration of the American Argali from Vol. 1 of the Cabinet of Natural History
Adoption Amount: $950
Category: Preserve for the Future
Location: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library

The Cabinet of natural history and American rural sports, with illustrations, Vol. 1

Philadelphia: J. & T. Doughty, 1830.

Botanicals and books on zoology, insect, and marine life are important sources for design and ornament; coloration and patterns from the natural world inspire artists and designers in many ways. The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library has a great collection of these resources available for study. The Cabinet was published as monthly issues and contains entries on the natural history of various species in America as well as accounts of hunting expeditions. Volume 1 (1830) contains the original plates by Thomas Doughty, famous painter and founding father of the Hudson River School and his brother John. A variety of artists, engravers, and etchers contributed to creation of this Cabinet of Natural History. The volumes feature some of the earliest American printings of lithographs and illustrations hand-colored in full color. The illustrations are considered the first colored sporting prints made in America. The text discusses a variety of subjects, ranging from information on individual mammals, birds, and fishes to natural history, sporting accounts, and travel narratives. This title is part of the legacy collection of the library of Sarah Cooper Hewitt presented in memory of her father Abram S. Hewitt and her sister Eleanor Garnier Hewitt.

Condition and Treatment: 

This volume has an early-19th century half leather and paper binding. The leather is worn at the gutters. The cover is detached and the textblock is split in half. The endpapers are detached.  Conservators will reattach the endpapers and reassemble the textblock. The cover will be repaired and the textblock recased in the original cover. A custom enclosure will be made to house this fragile volume.

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