Amazing Rare Things: The Art of Natural History in the Age of Discovery
by Martin Clayton, Susan Owens, Rea Alexandratos, David Attenborough, soft cover edition
Prior to this I read Eaten by a Giant Clam by Joseph Cummings, which proved to be quite a good companion text.
In some ways you can judge this book by its cover; there are some equally gorgeous illustrations inside; David Attenborough's contributions are insightful; it's too small in format to be an art book. Visually it's an appetiser rather than the meal its title promises to be. The text makes up the bulk of the book providing background to some illustrations whilst directly referring to others. It's the referencing that is let down by the format size. Smaller pages means more pages of text between illustrations. Being the diligent reader I am, I endeavoured to view each referenced illustration to give it context which made my progress through the book slow and something of an effort. I strongly feel this book would be a better read if the pages were bigger so that not only could you get more text to a page but the highly detailed illustrations could be better appreciated.
An interesting read and beautifully illustrated but any subsequent editions should be in a larger format.