Of Unicorns and Bezoars

The Story of Cabinets of Curiosity

Book Description

Of Unicorns and Bezoars presents a comprehensive study of the various different types of cabinet, from the Renaissance studio to twenty-first-century incarnations, these are interspersed with features highlighting some of the most notable and intriguing of curiosities, from crocodiles, astrolabes and bezoar stones to unicorns and birds of paradise. Selected passages from historical texts meanwhile offer insights into the way this passion for collecting was viewed in contemporary writings and reflected in literature.

The text is richly illustrated with a host of images that capture the authentic spirit of the cabinet of curiosity, which brimming with a vast and eclectic profusion of specimens testified to the collector's enthusiasm and expertise. The breadth and depth of illustrative material bears witness to the unprecedented scope of this exhibition, for which the great historical cabinets of curiosity of Europe including Schloss Ambras in Austria and the Aldrovandi Collection in Bologna as well as numerous museums in France have loaned items of outstanding significance.

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