British Butterflies

A History in Books

David Dunbar

British Butterflies

David Dunbar

Distributed for British Library

176 pages | 60 color plates, 20 halftones | 7 x 10 | © 2010
Cloth $75.00 ISBN: 9780712350969 Published October 2010 For sale in North and South America only

Drawing on over six hundred publications, including Thomas Moffett’s The Theatre of Insects, published in 1634, and modern-day guides and scientific resources, David Dunbar’s unique and expansive book is the first to trace a four hundred year history of the appearance and discussion of British butterflies in books.

 British Butterflies: A History in Books opens with a brief account of the growing interest in butterflies in the sixteenth century that led amateur naturalists to collect and publish their observations. Dunbar then examines the entire spectrum of butterfly-related literature, from the earliest discovery and naming of butterflies in the British Isles to contemporary scientific works on ecology and conservation. Throughout, British Butterflies: A History in Books is illustrated with color reproductions of fine prints from old butterfly and insect books, images of lepidopterists’ collecting equipment and other scientific artifacts, and examples of distribution mapping techniques.

Concisely written and beautifully illustrated, British Butterflies: A History in Books is a wonderful addition to the history of the book and a striking look at one of nature’s most delicate and ephemeral creatures.

Foreword by R I Vane-Wright

Section 1   Butterflies and Books
1    Awareness of Butterflies
2    The Manufacture and Publication of Books
3    Sources of Reference and Classification
Section 2   The 17th and 18th Centuries: The Golden Age of Discovery
4    Great Lepidopterists and Illustrators
Section 3   The 19th Century: Collectors and Scientists
5    Broadening the Horizons
6    Science and Systematic Study
7    Books for the People
8    Collecting and Fieldwork
9    Books for Children
10  19th Century Footnotes
Section 4   The 20th and 21st Centuries: Towards Conservation
11  From 1900 to 1945
12  From 1946 to 1979
13  1980 Onwards
14  Conservation and Practical Fieldwork
15  County and Regional Histories
16  Books for Beginners and Younger Readers
Section 5   Butterflies in Other Contexts
17  Art and Romance

Review Quotes
American Butterflies
"The history of butterfly study is inextricably bound up with the British Empire, the British scientists and collectors who sought out butterflies both at home and abroad, and the books they wrote, illustrated and published. David Dunbar, a butterfly conservationist, tells that story in this neat and concise book. . . . [Dunbar] takes us on a well-illustrated and mostly chronological journey from the 17th century through 2008 charting the course of butterfly discoveries, classificiation, research and, eventually the conservation efforts being taken to protect British butterflies, all through the lens of the books published each step of the way."
Joan Richards | Chicago Botanic Garden
"This work is a comprehensive bibliographic history of British works on butterflies. The hefty price tag is due to the wealth of color figures and plates reproducing illustrations from a variety of books. These graphics certainly make this book a delight to read."
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