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Benares House Gallery
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Book - “Natural History Picture Book – Mammalia”
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Title: Book - “Natural History Picture Book – Mammalia”
Identifier: 2004.2.312
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1869
Creation Date: 2012
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A book with a burgundy linen cover embossed in gold with the title and an image of a child seated on a marshy shore, reading a book and playing with the animals from a Noah's Ark which floats at her feet. The spine includes the name "Wood" in its gold decoration. The book is illustrated with black and white line drawings of various mammals.

John George Wood (1827-1889), was a popular English writer on natural history. Wood was born in London, son of surgeon John Freeman Wood and Juliana Lisetta. In 1852 he became a curate and in 1854 was ordained priest. After 1876 he devoted himself to the production of books and to lecturing on zoology. He illustrated his lectures by drawing on a black-board or on large sheets of white paper with coloured crayons. These "sketch lectures," were very popular, and made his name widely known both in Great Britain and in the United States. His books were populist as opposed to scientific and sold very well. Wood was also the editor of "The Boys Own Magazine".

George Routledge (1812-1888) was a British publisher. He started in business in London as a bookseller in 1836, and as a publisher in 1843, making his first serious success by reprinting the Biblical commentaries of an American writer, Albert Barnes. His company is known for the enormous number of cheap books which they issued. A series of shilling volumes called the Railway Library was an immense success, including as it did Mrs Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, and he also published in popular form some of the writings of Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Bulwer-Lytton and Benjamin Disraeli. He also brought out a number of shilling books in Routledges Universal Library. After being styled Routledge, Warne & Routledge, his firm changed its name to that of George Routledge & Sons in 1858. A branch of the business was established in New York in 1854.
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