Pasta for Nightingales

A 17th-Century Handbook of Bird-Care and Folklore

Giovanni Pietro Olina; With Illustrations from the "Paper Museum" of Cassiano dal Pozzo; Translated from the Italian by Kate Clayton in Association with First Edition Translations Ltd, Cambridge, UK; Foreword by Helen Macdonald, Author of "H Is for Hawk"

View Inside Price: $22.50

April 24, 2018
144 pages, 6 x 7 1/2
150 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300232882

The first-ever English translation of a seventeenth-century ornithology text, complete with historic watercolor illustrations

This beautifully illustrated book brings together the newly commissioned, first-ever English translation of one of the earliest studies in ornithology with the original watercolors, now part of the British Royal Collection, that provided the inspiration for its engraved illustrations. The watercolors, created for the “Paper Museum” of the seventeenth-century scholar and art collector Cassiano dal Pozzo, are here combined with the translated text of amateur naturalist Pietro Olina’s original Uccelliera of 1622 to create a new work that provides a fascinating glimpse of ornithology’s earliest days—a period when folklore informed natural history studies as much as science did.

With meditations on the “epileptic” robin redbreast and a recipe for chickpea pasta meant to satisfy a nightingale and keep it in song, this work is an enchanting re-presentation of natural history literature. Retaining the character of Olina’s original design, this unique book describes over forty much-loved species, and is sure to please bird watchers, naturalists, and antiquarian book lovers alike.

Cassiano dal Pozzo was a Roman art patron, and his seventeenth-century Museo Cartaceo housed hundreds of scientific drawings. Pietro Olina was an amateur naturalist and author of one of the earliest ornithology books. Translator Kate Clayton graduated from Oxford and studied for a postgraduate diploma in translation at Westminster University. She lives in London. Helen Macdonald is a writer and naturalist and author of H Is for Hawk.

“A superlative intersection of original artwork, translative skill, and book history that brings seventeenth-century European ornithology and natural history into sharp and elegant focus.”—Daniel Lewis, Chief Curator of Manuscripts, The Huntington Library

Sales Restrictions: North America