Interposed between the natural world in all its diversity and the edited form in which we encounter it in literature, imagery and the museum, lie the multiple practices of the naturalists in selecting, recording and preserving the specimens from which our world view is to be reconstituted. The factors that weigh at every stage are here dissected, analysed and set within a historical narrative that spans more than five centuries. During that era, every aspect evolved and changed, as engagement with nature moved from a speculative pursuit heavily influenced by classical scholarship to a systematic science, drawing on advanced theory and technology. Far from being neutrally objective, the process of representing nature is shown as fraught with constraint and compromise.
With a Foreword by Sir David Attenborough
Contributors are: Marie Addyman, Peter Barnard, Paul D. Brinkman, Ian Convery, Peter Davis, Felix Driver, Florike Egmond, Annemarie Jordan Gschwend, Geoff Hancock, Stephen Harris, Hanna Hodacs, Stuart Houston, Dominik Huenniger, Rob Huxley, Charlie Jarvis, Malgosia Nowak-Kemp, Shepard Krech III, Mark Lawley, Arthur Lucas, Marco Masseti, Geoff Moore, Pat Morris, Charles Nelson, Robert Peck, Helen Scales, Han F. Vermeulen, and Glyn Williams.
Arthur MacGregor, D.Litt (1999), formerly a curator at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. He has published
Curiosity and Enlightenment (2007),
Animal Encounters (2012) and has edited some 13 other books and c.130 articles. He is editor of the
Journal of the History of Collections (OUP).
"The act of collecting specimens and its corollaries – the preservation, description, analysis and arrangement of those specimens – is fundamental to all natural history research.
Naturalists in the Field offers a comprehensive and engaging overview of the various ways in which such specimens were acquired, preserved and transported over the past seven centuries."
- John McAleer,
Archives of Natural History, Volume 46, Issue 2, Page 362-363. Published online September 2019
"Two themes run strongly through this assortment. The first is attention to naturalists’ practice, the details of the day-to-day life of collecting in the field, as well as documentation and preservation. [...] The other rich seam is the visual culture of natural history. [...] it is an expansive and lively overview of a topic in the history of science that keeps rewarding those who study it. A great time to be a historian of natural history, indeed.”
- Samuel J. M. M. Alberti (National Museums Scotland & University of Stirling),
ISIS, Volume 110, Number 3, September 2019, pp. 576-577.
[...] this is a valuable set of essays that offer a broad range of insights into the practicalities of life in the field. The inclusion of nine lengthy appendices providing transcriptions of collecting instructions from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries will be of interest to students of natural history, while the rich selection of illustrations (most colored) makes the book appealing to a wider non-academic readership.
- Helen Cowie (University of York),
Journal of Jesuit Studies 6 (2019) 333-336.
Both entertaining and informative, clearly written and drawing on original research, this book is likely to be read both by scholars and by readers simply interested in natural history and field collecting.
Naturalists in the Field certainly deserves a place in the libraries of tertiary institutions and in major public libraries.
- Anne Coote (University of New England),
Historical Records of Australian Science, Volume 30 Number 1, p. 60.
Foreword Sir David Attenborough Editor’s Preface Arthur MacGregor List of Illustrations List of Contributors
Introduction Arthur MacGregor
New World and Other Exotic Animals in the Italian Renaissance: the Menageries of Lorenzo Il Magnifico and His Son, Pope Leo X Marco Masseti
The Emperor’s Exotic and New World Animals: Hans Khevenhüller and Habsburg Menageries in Vienna and Prague Annemarie Jordan Gschwend
“Judge by experience and by learninge”: the Fieldwork of William Turner (c.1508-1568) Marie Addyman
On Northern Shores: Sixteenth-Century Observations of Fish and Seabirds (North Sea and North Atlantic) Florike Egmond
Collecting and Preserving Fishes: an Historical Perspective Peter Davis
Into the Wild: Botanical Fieldwork in the Sixteenth Century Florike Egmond
“Take with you a small Spudd or Trowell”: James Petiver’s Directions for Collecting Natural Curiosities Charles E. Jarvis
Linnaean Scholars Out of Doors: So Much to Name, Learn and Profit From Hanna Hodacs
“Devilish fellows who test patience to the very limit”: Naturalists in the Pacific in the Age of Cook Glyn Williams
Catesby’s Birds Shepard Krech III
The Hudson’s Bay Company and Its Collectors C. Stuart Houston
European Enlightenment in India: an Episode of Anglo-German Collaboration in the Natural Sciences on the Coromandel Coast, Late 1700s–Early 1800s Arthur MacGregor
Eight Ways to Catch a Seal: Fieldwork in Siberia in the Age of Enlightenment Han F. Vermeulen
Face to Face with Nain Singh: the Schlagintweit Collections and Their Uses Felix Driver
More Than One Way to Skin a Wombat: the How and Why of Collecting in the South Seas Rob Huxley
William Burchell in Southern Africa, 1811-1815 Malgosia Nowak-Kemp
Snapshots of Tropical Diversity: Collecting Plants in Colonial and Imperial Brazil Stephen A. Harris
From Tubs to Flying Boats: Episodes in Transporting Living Plants E. Charles Nelson
Faunal Collecting, Inventorying and Systematizing in the Marine Environment: a Historical, Mostly British, Perspective P.G. Moore
Gathering Spirals: on the Naturalist and Shell Collector Hugh Cuming Helen Scales
Bat-Fowlers, Pooters and Cyanide Jars: a Historical Overview of Insect Collecting and Preservation Peter C. Barnard
Nets, Labels and Boards: Materiality and Natural History Practices in Continental European Manuals on Insect Collecting 1688-1776 Dominik Hünniger
Collecting Abroad, Preserving at Home: Titian Ramsay Peale II, American Entomologist and Collector Robert McCracken Peck
John Russell Malloch: Amateur Naturalist to Professional Taxonomist E. Geoffrey Hancock
Reflections on Some Practical Aspects of Collecting During the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries Pat Morris
Following the Lure: Field Experience and Professional Opportunities in Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century American Vertebrate Paleontology Paul D. Brinkman
Evolving Contexts of Collecting: the Australian Experience A.M. Lucas
Virtual Collecting: Camera-Trapping and the Assembly of Population Data in Twenty-First-Century Biology Sarah Elmeligi, Ian Convery, Volker Decker Deecke and Owen Nevin
The Psychology of Finding and Recognizing Wildlife Mark Lawley
Appendix: Key Texts in the History of Field Collecting Index
Academic and general readers with an interest in the natural sciences, both from a historical and a contemporary perspective.