Menagerie: The History of Exotic Animals in England by Caroline Grigson

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By Caroline Grigson

Menagerie is the tale of the panoply of unique animals that have been introduced into Britain from time immemorial until eventually the root of the London Zoo - a story replete with the extravagant, the eccentric, and - every so often - the downright bizarre.

From Henry III's elephant on the Tower, to George IV's love affair with Britain's first giraffe and woman Castlereagh's recalcitrant ostriches, Caroline Grigson's travel during the centuries quantities to an impressively unique historical past of unique animals in Britain. at the method we come across a bunch of attention-grabbing and outlandish creatures, together with the 1st peacocks and popinjays, Thomas More's monkey, James I's cassowaries in St James's Park, and Lord Clive's zebra - which refused to mate with a
donkey, till the donkey was once painted with stripes.

But this isn't simply the tale of the animals themselves. It additionally the tale of all those that got here into touch with them: the folks who owned them, the retailers who obtained and offered them, the seamen who carried them to our beaches, the naturalists who wrote approximately them, the artists who painted them, the itinerant showmen who labored with them, the creditors who accumulated them. And final yet no longer least, it really is approximately all those that easily got here to determine and beauty at them, from kings, queens, and nobles
to traditional males, girls, and youngsters, frequently impelled by means of not more than uncomplicated interest and a yearning for novelty.

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