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Various Subjects of Natural History, wherein are delineated Birds,
Animals, and many curious Plants. By J. Miller. Six Numbers, ai 1l. is, each, containing Six coloured Plates. ' Large
Folio. Sewell. THESE large and very beautiful prints are designed as a
supplement to the author's botanical work, and we equally admire the strength and spirit of the attitudes, the splendid colouring, and the judicious choice of the different subjects. We regret only, that from the great care and attention employed in the execution, they must be necessarily beyond the reach of many ardent yotaries of the science which they so strikingly, illustrate. Six Numbers have only yet appeared ; and we shall enumerate the subjects of each.
The first plate contains the loxia orix, a new species, first described in one of the Mantissæ of Linnæus, 527; and a fpecies of antholyza, the a. cunonia.
Another species of loxia, the l. coronata, and a very elegant one of the splendid genus alstroemeria, viz. the a. ligta. The a. pelegrina was admitted into the palaces of the Peruvian kings, while the other ornaments were golden imitations of different vegetables *. It is now well known in our hots houses. The loxia longicauda, and the gnaphalium eximium, from the vegetable kingdom, are the subjects delineated in the third table. In the fourth, the colouring in the copy before us is not laid on with the minute exactness which diftinguishes it in the other plates. Its subjects are the psittacus atricapil. lus, and the chelone penstemon. In this table, as well as in most of the others, where a lower is delineated, the differens parts are separately engraved; and, if necessary, magnified.
In the fifth are the pfittacus aurantius, and the illicium foridanum: in the fixth, the upupa promerops, though it is
* Amenitates Academicæ, vol. vi. VOL. LXI. Feb: 1786.
doubtful whether the specimen be not a new species ; with the eryngium alpinum.
In the seventh table is a representation of one of the most splendid plants which the new discovered islands of the Pacific Ocean yield. Its leaf and habit resemble the magnolia, its flower is very different. Mr. Forster has called it the Barringtonia speciosa. It is found also on the eastern coasts of India. The next table presents us with the ampelis Carolinenfis, and a new plant, the amaryllis crispa : the ninth, with a new plant from Æthiopia, the antholyza Æthiopica. The tenth is the Canadian elk, the cervus alces of Linnæus. The eleventh, the lacerta chamelion, with its long tongue which entangles flies. The twelfth, the larus albus from the arctic regions : and the thirteenth, the lemur murinus from Madagascar, in its waking, and singular sleeping state,
The fourteenth table contains an accurate and splendid representation of the casuary: the next, the male and female moscicapa striata, from Hudson's Bay; and the ampelis criftata, from America. The fixteenth contains a very beautiful bird, the Columba coronota, from the Cape of Good Hope : and the two following, two species of Falcon, from Tierra del Fuego and Greenland. In the nineteenth, is by much the best representation of the hyæna that we have seen ; and a coloured print of the black wolf, from Hudson's-bay. The viverra tetradactyla, from the extremes of Africa, is the only ornament of the twentieth plate ; but in the twenty-first, are three little birds from North America, the parus Hudsonicus, the fringella Hudsonica, and the emberiza leucophrys. In the twenty-second is a bird of the heron kind, which, from the Mape of its bill, we have called the spoon-bill, the platalea leucorodia of Linnæus, remarkable for building its neft in trees. In the twenty-third and thirty-fourth tables, 'ate' two species of penguin, the aptenodytes Patagonica and Magelanica. These birds recal strongly fir John Narborough's defeription. He says they appear like children, with bibs pinned before them. This appropriated language, from strong firft impressions, is often highly valuable; and its expreflve brevity is equally friking, in a groupe of these animals, in the tailpiece.
The twenty-fourth plate exhibits the cuculas indicator, from the Cape of Good Hope, the little bird which conducts the traveller to the hoarded treasure of the indufirious bee, by first attracting his notice, and then hovering over the spot with expressive cries. It cannot obtain the honey by its own efforts, and is therefore contented to share the plunder with a more powerful ally. These birds are often highly useful in such un.
frequented deserts, as they furnish a palatable addition to the ffender diet of the traveller. In the same plate is a print of the fringilla cyanocapilla from Senegal.
The twenty fifth plate Thews the brucea antidysenterica, a species of a new genus from Africa, used by the natives as a specific against the dysentery. The next is a new species of teftudo called sulcata, from the Weft Indies ; the shell is beautifully variegated : and the following object is the Chinese wild man.
We recommend the animal to the attention of lord Monboddo ; 'but, if we can trust general habits and appearances, it is of the monkey race. Its arms, particularly, reach far below its knees : it is, however, classed by our author under the genus HOMO.
The twenty-eighth plate represents that species of falcon, so useful at the Cape of Good Hope, called serpentarius, from its feeding on serpents The following plate exhibits a new species of pfittacus, called, from its native haunts, Guinienfis. Two birds from India, and one from South America, fill the twenty-ninth plate. The first is a new species of the minute trochilus, from its voracity called gularis. The second is a new species of fringilla, called torquata ; and the last, which is also new, is the motacilla gularis.
The jerboa Capensis, from the extremity of Africa, is a new genus of the fourth class of Linnæus. It is a beautiful ani. mal, the insides of whose ears are of a vivid pink colour. The next object is a new species of lemur, the l. bicolor ; and the next a new one of the otis ; the first is from South America, and the second from India. The two last plates of the fixth Number represent two new species of ardea, from South America, the a. nævia and torquata.
We have thus given a short description of the different fubjects in this work, with a few remarks to point out their na
It will be readily observed, that the species delineated are generally new, and frequently important. When they were before known, those chiefly are felected, which had not been hitherto engraven with sufficient accuracy. It will be obvious, that if the same care be employed in the progress of the work, it will become very valuable ; and the cost, though great, be repaid with confiderable information. At present, from the number of African animals, it is an useful addition to Sparrmann's Voyage ; and we suspect, in the prosecution of it, that it will no less affist the different narrations of captain Cook. At the same time, it will be a monument of skill and knowledge, of which an Englishman may be juftly proud ; because it is the work of his countryman, becaufe it is yet unrivalled, and probably will remain without an equal.
Å Biographical Dictionary, containing an historical Account of all
the Engravers, from the earliest Period of the Art of Engraving to the present Time ; and a short List of their most esteemed Works. With the Cyphers, Monograms, and particular Marks, used by each Master, accurately copied from the Originals, and properly explained. To which is prefixed, An Efay on the Rise and Progress of the Art of Engraving, both on Copper and on Wood. With several curious Specimens of the Performances of the most ancient Masters. By Joseph Strutt.! Vol. I. 4to.
il. 1s. 'in Boards. Faulder. IN England, the art of engraving is much cultivated, and its
artists now excel those of every other country ; yet we have fill wanted a satisfactory account of the engravers, or their works, in the English language.
' In France (we are informed the example has been set us by Bafon, who, with the asistance of the notes of M. Mariette, has given us a regular account of upwards of a thousand artists. It is a very ingenious compilation, and, as far as it goes, ex: ceedingly useful. The descriptions which he gives of the prints belonging to each artist are very accurate, and the obser. vations which occur, are no small proofs of the folidity of his judgment; but he has generally omitted to inform us of the style or manner in which they are worked : neither has he given us the marks or monograms, which they often substituted instead of their names'; and these oinisions render his work much less valuable than it would otherwise have been, because it affords us but little aslistance in diftinguishing the works of one mafter from those of another of the same name, or who might use the fame mark.
The other foreign publications upon the subject, though very multifarious, are, nevertheless, exceedingly defective ; few of them fpeak of the art of engraving abstractedly; and the greater part of them are little more than unsatisfactory catalogues of the names of the artists, or lists of their works, without any proper defcription. If professor Chrift had paid á sufficient attention to this particular, his Dictionary of Monograms would have afforded infinitely more aslistance in distinguishing the works of the old mailers, the one from the other; though it is confefiedly, as it stands, a very desirable perform
In English, we have Evelyn's Sculptura; a small book entitled Sculptura Historico-Technica, compiled originally by the elder Faithorne ; and the Series of Engravers, published at Cambridge: thefe, excepting catalogues of particular mafters works, are all the books I can recollect of any consequence, in which the artists are generally spoken of (for Virtue's Catalogue of the Engravers, published by the hon. Mr. Walpole,
is confined to the English school only; and that they are very defective, a small degree of examination will abundantly prove. I need not say how expensive it would be to purchase all the publications, which bear any reference to the art of engraving; but I fear, the information to be gained, from the far greater part of them, would be neither adequate to the cost, nor the itudy which muß necessarily be bestowed upon them.'
The title of the work sufficiently explains its form, which is well adapted to the author's design. A system of the art might have been scientifically arranged; but the lives of the artists require no such fetters, and they would lessen the utility of a work of this kind, which is rather to be referred to than read. A chronological table is, however, intended to be placed at the end of the second volume, with a list of the disciples of each master.
Nearly three thousand names are included in the narrow limits of this work; the lives of the artists must, of courfe, be drawn up in as short a compass as posible. I am well aware of the dryness of a mere Dictionary history, as also of the frequent repetitions which muft neceffarily occur ; and I have endea. voured to compensate for theie defects, by a diligent attention to truth : at the same time, whenever I could meet with an interesting anecdote to enliven the performance, I have gladly inserted ii. But so many of the engravers lived and died in obscurity, that little, very little matter of amusement, exclu.. five of the arts, can be gathered from the barren foil. These unfavourable circumstances will not, I hope, be placed to my account, even when it appears, that I have chosen rather to leave the subject naked as it is, than to adorn it in a more pleasing manner, at the expence of veracity.
• With respect to the general character of each artist, I have written as an engraver, and endeavoured, as clearly as possible, to point out the style in which he worked, and wherein his great excellence confifted ; and upwards of twenty years expe-rience may, perhaps, plead a little in favour of my judgment. I have conftantly, however, endeavoured to deliver my sentiments in the most impartial manner: and if I am in any infiance thought to speak too highly in favour of the artist, I hope to claim some small share of indulgence, because I constantly speak as I feel, and never presume to give my opinion positively, without adding the reasons upon which it is grounded.'
So far as this work has gone, the judicious author has fulfilled his promises; and we receive it with more pleasure, fince we are very sensible of the difficulties which must have attended : the execution. The several engravers, in this volume, appear to us very accurately characterized; and where their lite has. admitted of introducing any entertaining circumstances, out G 3