“Zebra” gallops towards the finish line.

This month “Zebra” has entered the final editing stages, and the publisher has sent a galley proof. It is lovely to see all the text and images in place. Although my coauthor and I have collected these pictures (some 100 paintings, photos, postcards…) over several years, it really is amazing to see them together in book form.  A release is on the cards for early 2018.

I first admired Reaktion’s “Animal” books back as a graduate student in my early 20s, and I could read through one in an afternoon. Now that I have coauthored an “Animal” title, it feels like an odd sensation.



Zebra, van achteren, Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita, 1878 – 1944

Paper and chalk drawing from the Rijksmuseum’s collection.



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Zebra & Cultures of Natural History (+ a diary entry by Hester Thrale)


This blog hasn’t been updated in quite some time! The last few weeks have seen the (almost) end of a two writing projects:

1) A manuscript for Zebra was sent to the publisher.

2) A 6,000 essay on bird and animal merchants was sent to the editors of the forthcoming CUP collected volume Cultures of Natural History.

The first months of 2017 will, no doubt, be full of galley proofs and edits!

Raking through notes and re-reading primary sources again, as in the case of the chapter for Cultures of Natural History, sometimes leads to the (re)discovery of some sources. I wasn’t able to include this diary entry by Hester Thrale in either my thesis or Georgian Menagerie, so I was glad to get it in Cultures of Natural History:

“We drove homewards, taking in our way Brooke’s Menagerie, where I stopped to speak about my peafowl. Here Harry was happy again with a lion intended for a show who was remarkably tame, & a monkey so beautiful & gentle that I was as much pleased with him as the children.”

Extract from the journal of Hester Piozzi Thrale (1741-1821) published in Black, J., et al., The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (London, 2012), p. 949.

NPG 4942; Hester Lynch Piozzi (nÈe Salusbury; Mrs Thrale) by Unknown Italian artist

Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale)

by Unknown Italian artist
oil on canvas, 1785-1786
NPG 4942

The publication of my essay in Cultures of Natural History will also be the end of my work on exotic animals in eighteenth-century Britain. The original volume of Cultures, published in the 90s, was a much thumbed through and admired collected from my student days – so it is a strange and pleasant thing to be included in the volume. The project that started with a PhD application in 2006 will end in 2017!










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The Georgian Menagerie: reviewed in The Times today…

book review

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The Georgian Menagerie – published today!

The Georgian Menagerie was published today by I.B.Tauris.  One of the animal  biographies or stories from the book appears in the form of a post on the Guardian blog “Animal Magic”. Click here to read about Gilbert Pidcock’s rhinceros.

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The Georgian Menagerie (special offer price when bought from the publisher before 01/10/15)

If you are interested in buying The Georgian Menagerie you can download this discount flyer. When you purchase the book from the publisher, I.B. Tauris, you can buy the hardback for 14 pounds instead of 20 pounds. This special offer price will expire 1st October 2015.

Georgian Menagerie flyer   [please download the pdf flyer with the discount code by clicking on this link]

The Georgian Menagerie cover.

The Georgian Menagerie cover.

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The title design has been approved. Here is the front jacket for The Georgian Menagerie…

I think that the designer did a really nice job.  Such an appealing cover for the book. 🙂

The Georgian Menagerie cover.

The Georgian Menagerie cover.

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The Georgian Menagerie: Final Proofs have been approved – published next month! :)

Full steam ahead for publication next month!

The final proofs were sent to me this week, and I have just signed off on them.

The cover is very nicely designed and appealing – I’m looking forward to holding the completed book in my hands next month.

I’ll be posting in the near future about the book, related events, and short publications.

The image attached to this post is quite appropriate for The Georgian Menagerie, though sadly it is not included in the book. If you look carefully in the porch, you can see a green parrot in a brass cage.  A touch of the exotic in this very English pastoral scene…

House on a Common, oil on canvas 1770-1780

House on a Common, oil on canvas 1770-1780. Note the parrot cage hanging in the porch. Yale Center for British Art

Detail: Parrot cage in the porchway.

Detail: Parrot cage in the porchway.

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