Posted by John Bidwell
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 7:35:00 PM
Francis Willughby (1635-1672). Ornithologiae libri tres, in quibus aves omnes hactenus cognitae in methodum naturis suis convenientem redactae accuratè describuntur, descriptiones iconibus elegantissimis & vivarum avium simillimis, aeri incisis illustrantur. London: Printed for John Martyn, printer to the Royal Society, 1676. Purchased on the Henry S. Morgan Fund, 2011.
The Royal Society advocated empirical methods of scientific research, an approach exemplified in this copiously illustrated book of birds incorporating the observations of the naturalist Francis Willughby, a founding member of the Society. This copy belonged to another member of the Society, the astronomer John Flamsteed, famous for having compiled a star catalogue of unprecedented size and accuracy. In a marginal annotation Flamsteed recorded the sighting of a hoopoe in the vicinity of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.