Field sketch of a red panda by an unknown artist for Brian Houghton Hodgson.

Animals: Art, Science and Sound

British Library, London
21 April - 28 August 2023

The British Library brings together centuries worth of humans documenting animals, reminding us to cherish our fragile natural world.

Humans have long been fascinated by animals, using science, art and even sound to document and understand them for hundreds of years. This exhibition brings together a treasure trove of manuscripts, works of art and sound recordings revealing species of all shapes and sizes, hailing from the heart of the rainforest to desert planes and deep ocean beds.

Explore how documenting animals has led to developments in art and science and separate fact from fiction through humankind’s biggest blunders when it comes to understanding animals – from the belief that a duck-billed platypus was a hoax to a 16th-century drawing of a monkfish that very closely resembles its namesake!

Our understanding of animals is constantly evolving and there’s so much we have left to learn – this exhibition provides a unique window into how that knowledge has been gathered over time and even lets you reconnect to species now sadly extinct. There is a strong focus on sound, with particular highlights including a recording of the last living Kauaʻi ʻōʻō – a bird native to Hawaii – chirping its mournful song.

Why you should go

  • Uncover creatures from every corner of the planet

  • Hear poignant recordings of extinct species

  • Explore how animals have inspired the worlds of art and science

IndividualTiana Clarke Please note this is an example card and not a reflection of the final product

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