I have coveted this book for years but its pricetag ($200) was a bit out of reach. Imagine my surprise to find it on the sale rack at Barnes & Noble recently for $24.95!! For a collage artist, this book is a remarkable resource filled with thousands of gorgeous illustrations of flora and fauna painted during the 1700s by a fellow named Albertus Seba. Dozens of plates of butterflies, mandala-like arrangements of seashells, and the pages I'm most excited about: fancifully swirled and curled snakes! The detail in these renderings is amazing, but in a few cases I wonder if Seba must have been working from someone else's description or lousy sketch, because some of the animals depicted are just odd-looking. Or who knows, maybe those are extinct now.
I'm hauling this giant book to the nearest color photocopier today so I'll have some new plant and animal images to use in LK's workshop this weekend. You might call your local B&N to see if they've got any cut-rate copies left!
Besides its wealth of collage fodder, it's just a gorgeous book, inside and out. I see it frequently in magazine and catalog photos, you know, the ones where impressive stacks of exotic coffee table books are nonchalantly piled next to the overstuffed sofa they're trying to sell. The artwork on the dust jacket is reproduced directly on the book's cover, too, so it's easy to spot that vibrant red coral snaking its way onto the spine. It's really a classy looking thing.