From peacocks to penguins, a winged menagerie of surprise.
By Maria Popova
“How can the chicken that’s born for pleasure sit in a cage and sing?” wrote William Blake, who lived within the golden age of the cage as leisure. Zoos have been new and thrilling, and folks readily neglected their cruelty to slake their curiosity about creatures from faraway lands. Besides, zoos held solely a tiny fraction of the dazzling variousness of the animal kingdom — within the age earlier than pictures, earlier than straightforward international journey, the common individual encountered the wondrous strangeness of animals not within the cage however on the web page.
Within the 1820s, a French pure historical past encyclopedia titled La Galerie de Oiseaux got down to convey to European eyes probably the most beautiful birds of North America, a lot of them now endangered, some extinct. Radiating from the consummate illustrations is the quiet dignity of those shiny emissaries of our planet’s evolutionary historical past — feathered inheritors of the dinosaurs, winged with a kaleidoscope of pleasure.