Menageries in Britain 1100-2000 by Christine E. Jackson

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Volume 175: Menageries in Britain 1100-2000. Christine E. Jackson.

Menageries in Britain 1100-2000 traces the history of menageries ('...a collection of wild animals in cages or enclosures, especially  one kept for exhibition... in zoological gardens or travelling show. Also the place... where they are kept...') in five sections: Royal Menageries, Travelling and Commercial Menageries, Private Menageries and Aviaries, Dealers, and the Twentieth Century. The book begins with Royal Menageries and takes its starting point from the first recorded collection of animals in England, that of Henry I. The history of subsequent royal collections, held predominantly at the Tower of London, is followed, ending with the Windsor Menagerie being given to the Zoological Society of London after Queen Victoria's death. Travelling and Commercial Menageries, which started in the seventeenth century with the rapid increase in Britain's overseas trading, developed from sideshows at inns and fairs into the large travelling animal shows of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. They lingered on into the early twentieth century, usually associated with circuses. Another form of the Commercial Menagerie, the static, was also very popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Wombwell's, Ballard's, Polito's and Bostock's menageries were great public attractions, based permanently in London, although they also provided animals for manageries that travelled in the summer. The development of large private menageries, the majority owned by enthusiastic aristocrats, is traced to its peak in the late nineteenth century and finishes with the last example, that of Lord Rothschild, in the early twentieth century. The interactions of these private collections and the development of the science of Zoology, together with the establishment of scientific collections, are also considered. The rise of dealers to support the increased interest in animal collecting and their association with the major ports of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is charted, as is their input to animal husbandry and science, particularly scientific illustration. Many of Thomas Bewick's wood engravings were made from studies of animals in dealers' as well as travelling menageries. The book concludes with an overview of the twentieth century and the changed attitudes to displaying and keeping animals, safari parks and the emphasis on conservation and not merely on entertainment.