<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
Topsell, Edward, 1572–1625?

The history of four-footed beasts and serpents : describing at large their true and lively figure, their several names, conditions, kinds, virtues (both natural and medicinal) countries of their breed, their love and hatred to mankind, and the wonderful work of God in their creation, preservation, and destruction. Interwoven with curious variety of historical narrations out of Scriptures, fathers, philosophers, physicians, and poets: illustrated with divers hieroglyphicks and emblems, &c. both pleasant and profitable for students in all faculties and professions / Collected out of the writings of Conradus Gesner and other authors, by Edward Topsel. Whereunto is now added, The theater of insects; or, lesser living creatures: as bees, flies, caterpillars, spiders, worms, &c. A most elaborate work: by T. Muffet, Dr. of Physick. The whole revised, corrected, and inlarged with the addition of two useful physical tables by J[ohn]. R[owland]. M.D.

Additional Title(s):

History of four-footed beasts, serpents, and insects

History of serpents. Or, The second book of living creatures

Second book of living creatures

Theatre of insects: or, Lesser living creatures

London : Printed by E. Cotes, for G. Sawbridge at the Bible on Ludgate-hill, T. Williams at the Bible in Little-Britain, and T. Johnson, at the Key in Paul's Church-yard, MDCLVIII [1658]
Physical Description:
[16], 818, [18], 889-1130, [6] p. : ill. ; 33 cm. (fol.)
Rare Books and Manuscripts
QL41 .T67 1658+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.

Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Vol. 1 is largely a translation into English from the original Latin of books 1 and 5 of "Historia animalium" by Konrad Gesner, with additions by Topsell. The second part has separate dated title page (3D6r), "The history of serpents. Or, The second book of living creatures: wherein is contained their divine, natural, and moral descriptions, with their lively figures, names, conditions, kindes, and natures of all venomous beasts: with their several poysons and antidotes; their deep hatred to mankinde, and the wonderful work of God in their creation, and destruction. Necessary and profitable to all sorts of men: collected out of divine Scriptures, fathers, philosophers, physitians, and poets: amplified with sundry accidental histories, hierogliphycks, epigrams, emblems, and aenigmatical observations. By Edvvard Topsell.", with imprint "London, printed by E. Cotes, 1658".
Vol. 2, a translation into English from the original Latin of "Insectorum sive minimorum animalium theatrum", has separate dated title page (4F1r), "The theatre of insects: or, Lesser living creatures. As, bees, flies, caterpillars, spidrs [sic], worms, &c. a most elaborate work. By Tho. Mouffett, Doctor in Physicl", with imprint "London, printed by E.C. 1658".
Half-title: The history of four-footed beasts, serpents, and insects.
T.p. enclosed in a plain rule-border.
Signatures: A⁸ B-3Z⁶ 4A⁴ 4F-5C⁶ 5D⁴.
Woodcut illustrations within text throughout.
Wing, D.G. Short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America, and of English books printed in other countries, 1641-1700 (2nd ed.), G624
English short title catalogue, R6249
Podeschi, J.B. Books on the horse and horsemanship, 27
Freeman, R.B. British natural history books, 3730
Of green leaf, bird, and flower: artists' books and the natural world, p. 179
Includes indexes.
BAC: British Art Center copy bound in blind- and gilt-tooled sprinkled calf; with marbled edges. Armorial bookplate: Rainald Knightley, Fawsley. Inscribed: Henry Benson.
Yale Med copy 2 (34 cm.) the gift of Dr. George M. Smith.
Subject Terms:
Animals -- Pictorial works.
Benson, Henry -- Autograph (BAC RB)
Fulton, John Farquhar, 1899-1960 -- Ownership (BEIN)
Knightley, Rainald -- Bookplate (BAC RB)
Natural history -- Pre-Linnean works.
Snakes -- Early works to 1800.
Woodcut -- Specimens -- 1658 (BAC RB)
Zoology -- Pre-Linnean works.
Topsell, Edward, 1572-1625? Historie of serpents.
Gesner, Konrad, 1516-1565. Historia animalium Liber 1. English.
Gesner, Konrad, 1516-1565. Historia animalium Liber 5. English.
Moffett, Thomas, 1553-1604. Insectorum sive minimorum animalium theatrum. English.
Rowland, John, M.D.
Cotes, E. (Ellen), printer.
Sawbridge, George, d. 1681, publisher.
Williams, Thomas, d. 1678?, publisher.
Johnson, Thomas, active 1642-1677, publisher.
IIIF Manifest:

"Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower" : Artists' Books and the Natural World (Yale Center for British Art, May 15, 2014-August 10, 2014) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.