A cluster of spiders - celebrating In with the Spiders exhibit

by Ann Sylph on

A spider celebration this month with the opening of the new In with the Spiders on 23 May at ZSL London Zoo. Whilst at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo you can get up close to spiders in the Discovery Centre.

Woodcut of spiders on page 608 De animalibus insectis libri septem ... / autore Ulisse Aldrovandi, Bonon. :  apud Clementum Ferronium, [1638].
A cluster of spiders on page 608 of Aldrovandi's De animalibus insectis libri septem

These images are from one of the oldest books in ZSL Library dedicated to the subject of insects and other invertebrates : -  De animalibus insectis libri septem ... / autore Ulisse Aldrovandi, Bonon. :  apud Clementum Ferronium, [1638]. During the Renaissance Ulisse Adrovandi  (1522-1605) published a whole series of books in Latin in which he aimed to accurately identify and describe the largest possible number of animals, minerals and plants. As far as possible his research was based on inspection of specimens resulting in him establishing his own extensive museum of specimens and images. The specimens were used as the basis of the woodcuts illustrating his published works as he realised the value of the illustrations accompanying the text. During his lifetime he managed to publish only three volumes of his Natural History, the remaing 9 volumes were brought out be the Senate of Bologna between 1605 and 1667 but with changes and additions.  He bequeathed his collections to the city of Bologna.

Spider illustration in Rösel van Rosenhof [1764]
Spider illustration in Rösel van Rosenhof, [1764]

This beautiful image is from  De natuurlyke historie der insecten, ... volgens eigen ondervinding beschreeven, / door August Johann Rösel van Rosenhof; met zeer nutte en fraaie aanmerkingen verrykt, door C.F.C. Kleemann; uit den echten hoogduitschen druk... en de geschreeven aanmerkingen van den Heer Kleemann vertaald..., Haarlem :  Bohn & Wit, [1764].

We have featured Rösel von Rosenhof’s volume on amphibians in a previous `Artefact’ so please do take the opportunity to enjoy these as well http://www.zsl.org/blogs/artefact-of-the-month/historia-naturalis-ranarum-nostratium-die-nat%C3%BCrliche-historie-der 

The earliest book on British spiders was written by Martin Lister, in 1678 and again in Latin. This is also one of the earliest natural history books associated with a woman! The illustrations for the volume were done by his wife, Hannah Lister nee Parkinson. This book has been translated into English and this version was published in 1992 as Martin Lister's English spiders 1678 / translated from the original Latin by Malcolm Davies and Basil Harley ; edited with an introduction and notes by John Parker and Basil Harley, Colchester :  Harley, 1992. This book is available for loan to ZSL Fellows so you are welcome to borrow and enjoy it in your own home!

Do enjoy looking at these images and take the opportunity to visit the new Spider exhibit at ZSL London Zoo over half term and the Discovery Centre at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

 

Further reading :

The great naturalists / edited by Robert Huxley, London : Thames and Hudson, 2007

Martin Lister's English spiders 1678 / translated from the original Latin by Malcolm Davies and Basil Harley ; edited with an introduction and notes by John Parker and Basil Harley, Colchester :  Harley, 1992

 

If you are a ZSL Fellow or Member please do also visit ZSL Library. Others are also welcome but please do bring photographic ID and proof of address when you visit, see  ZSL Library Collection for details. ZSL Fellows may borrow post-1940 books from ZSL LIbrary

These`artefacts’ are historic books and form part of our Special Collections so you would normally need to make an appointment to view them. However both featured books will be displayed in ZSL Library throughout May.

 ZSL Library is open weekdays 9.30am to 5.30pm but is closed on bank holidays.

Select a blog

Careers at ZSL

Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!

Conservation

We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.

Science

From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.

Education

A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.

Artefact of the month

Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.

Wild About

Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.

Chagos Expedition

The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).

Asia Conservation Programme

ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.