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Historical book treasures in the RAU library

Please take a moment to look at the most recent display in the glass cabinet in the library. It includes a selection of book titles from its Historical Collection. All three books are extraordinarily beautiful, illustrated as they are with colour plates.

  1. The horse: its treatment in health and disease, with a complete guide to breeding, training and management by John Wortley Axe published by Gresham Publishing.  (1906)

Subjects covered are:  Horses, Breeding, Diseases


The text on display gives the viewer an insight into the equine veterinary practices of more than one hundred years ago. It contain useful information relating to the horse, including its origin and development, varieties, breeding, training, management, health and disease.

In addition it has a very distinctive binding designed  by Talwin Morris (1865-1911).

The section on the hoof is accompanied by a practical “model” with pull out sections showing the different layers and structure of the foot. This is found at the end of the volume and shown below.

11246475_10153324642561617_4033970722852483980_n2. A hand-book to the birds of Great Britain by R Bowdler Sharpe

Published by  Edward Lloyd (1896 – 1897)

Subject covered are: Birds and Natural History

The author Richard Bowdler Sharpe was an English naturalist and zoologist.  In 1867 Sharpe was given the post of librarian of the Zoological Society, on the recommendation of Osbert Salvin and Philip Sclater. On the death of George Robert Gray in 1872 he joined the British Museum as a Senior Assistant in the Department of Zoology, taking charge of the bird collection. He became Assistant Keeper in 1895, remaining there until his death.

Beautifully illustrated coloured lithographs feature throughout each volume.

  • Vol I Frontispiece Golden Oriole
  • Vol II Cuckoo
  • Vol III Purple Heron
  • Vol IV White -billed Diver

11046696_10153324642316617_2398668244523461974_n3. A philosophical account of the works of nature: endeavouring to set forth the several gradations remarkable in the mineral, vegetable, and animal parts of the creation … by  Richard Bradley

Published by Printed for W. Mears  (1721)

Subjects covered include: Natural History, Anatomy


Figure 1 “A Skeleton of a Man, whereby the Difference in the Osteology in the Man and other Creatures, may be observed.”

Figure 2 “The Skeleton of a Monkey, shewing the Difference between that and Mankind.” Richard Bradley (1688-1732), English botanist and writer, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1712 at the age of 24, despite his lack of a university education.  The University of Cambridge named Bradley its first professor of botany in 1724, a position he would hold until his death.  This was an unsalaried position, so he published prolifically to make a living.

The RAU library, whose own history goes back 700 years, is very proud to own these beautiful and rare books as part of an outstanding specialist collection.


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This entry was posted on May 20, 2015 by in Archives, News and tagged , , .


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