Two Turtle Doves

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Door No. 2

The Turtle Dove from ‘History of British Birds Vol I (Bradshaw-Bewick Collection, Bradshaw-Bewick 761BEW)

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

THE TURTLE DOVE

“…The female lays two eggs, and has only one brood in this country, but in warmer climates it is supposed to breed several times in the year.”

Extract from History of British Birds Vol I., page 273, by Thomas Bewick.

History of British Birds is published in two volumes. It was the first field guide for non-specialists and contains accurate illustrations of bird species. Aspects from the History of British Birds is used in poetry and literature.

Find out more about the Bradshaw-Bewick collection.

21st December – The Fig Tree

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The Fig Tree

‘The Fig Tree’ illustration from Elizabeth Blackwell’s Herbal Vol. 1

Plate 125. The Fig Tree. Ficus.

It seldome grows to be a Tree of any great Bigness in England; the Leaves are a grass Green and the Fruit when ripe of a brownish Green; it beareth no visible Flowers, which makes it believed they are hid in the Fruit.

Its Native soils are Turky, Spain and Portugal; and its time of Bearing is in Spring and Autumn; the Figs are cured by dipping them in scalding hot Lye, made of ye Ashes of the Guttings of the Tree, and afterwards they dry them carefully in the Sun.

Figs are esteem’d cooling and moistning, good for coughs, shortness of Breath, and all Diseases of the Breast; as also the Stone and Gravel, – and the small Pox and Measels, which they drive out. – Outwardly they are dissolving and ripening, good for Imposthumations and Swellings; and pestilential buboes.

Latin, Ficus. Spanish, Igos. Italian, Fichi: French, Figues. German, Fengen. Dutch Uygen.

Taken from Volume 1 of Elizabeth Blackwell’s Herbals found in our Rare Books Collection available here.

2nd December – 1892 Kate Greenaway Almanack

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'Winter' illustration

‘Winter’ illustration from Kate Greenaway’s 1892 Almanack (030 GRE)

Beautiful Winter illustration taken from Kate Greenaway’s Almanack for 1892 – Engraved by Edmund Evans – Published by G. Routledge & Sons

Catherine Greenaway (1846 – 1901), known as Kate Greenaway, was an English children’s book illustrator and writer. Her most popular books are Under the Window (1879)Kate Greenaway’s Birthday Book for Children (1880), Mother Goose; or, The Old Nursery Rhymes (1881), and A Painting Book (1884).

Her almanacs ran from 1883 up until 1897, with no 1896 issue being published. Each almanacks included a Jan-Dec calendar, beautifully drawn illustrations and short poems. Her almanacs were sold throughout America, England, Germany and France and were produced with different variations and in different languages.

Kate Greenaway’s Almanacks are from the 19th Century Collection. Find her 1892 almanack and others here.

23rd December – Foxes in the Snow

The Common Fox

Probably every Englishman thinks he knows the common fox sufficiently well to run no risk of confounding it with any other animal…

The ordinary English fox, as represented in our coloured plate, is of reddish brown colour above, white beneath, while the outer surfaces of the ears, and portions of those of the limbs are black, and the extreme tip of the tail is white. Occasionally, however, the tip of the tail may be dark grey, or even black, while in one specimen caught in Warwickshire, the whole of the under-parts were greyish black. The total length of the head and body may vary from 27 to 46 inches, and that of the tail from 12 to 15 inches.

Extract taken from The Royal Natural History, Vol. I, edited by Richard Lydekker, B.A., F.G.S, F.Z.S, Etc.
Contains coloured plates and illustrations, with the above plate illustrated by W. Kuhnert.

This book is part of the 19th Century Collection and can be found here.

15th December – December Calendar from Kate Greenaway’s 1890 Almanack

December - Almanack from 1890 by Kate Greenaway

 

Beautiful wintry scene illustration taken from December’s calendar from Kate Greenaway’s Almanack for 1890 – Engraved by Edmund Evans – Published by G. Routledge & Sons

Catherine Greenaway (1846 – 1901), known as Kate Greenaway, was an English children’s book illustrator and writer. Her most popular books are Under the Window (1879)Kate Greenaway’s Birthday Book for Children (1880), Mother Goose; or, The Old Nursery Rhymes (1881), and A Painting Book (1884).

Her almanacs ran from 1883 up until 1897, with no 1896 issue being published. Each almanac included a Jan-Dec calendar, beautifully drawn illustrations and short poems. Her almanacs were sold throughout America, England, Germany and France and were produced with different variations and in different languages.

Kate Greenaway’s Almanacks are from the Sarah Chorley Collection. Find her 1890 almanack and others here.

 

12th December – Mistletoe

Mistletoe

Mistletoe. Viscum or Visscus quercinus.

1. This plant takes root on the Branches of Trees, and sometimes grows two or three Foot long; The Leaves are a yellow Green, the Flowers yellow and the Berries almost the colour of white Currans.

2. It grows upon several Trees, as the Apple, Crab, Hasel, Ash, Mapple, Lime, Willow, White-thorn and Oak. The last of which is hardly to be met with here in England, which perhaps added to the Honour that the Ancient Druids paid to this Mistletoe.

3. Mistletoe is accounted cephalic and nervine, particuarly useful for all kinds of Convulsion Fits, the Apoplexy, Palsy, and Vertigo, for which Purposes some commend the Mistletoe of the Hasel as better than the Others. The Viscus Aucupum or Bird Lime, was formerly made of the Berries of this Plant; but now in England it is made of the Bark of the Holly Tree. Bird Lime is a powerfull Attractive, good to ripen hard Tumours and Swellings. See Sir John Colebatche’s Discourse of Mistletoe.

4. Latin, Viscum. Spanish, Visco. Italian, Vischio or Panio. French, Guy. German, Bogelleim.

Taken from Volume 1 of Elizabeth Blackwell’s Herbals found in our Rare Books Collection available here.