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Pasta for Nightingales

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


Common hoopoe, Upupa epops L.1758

circa 1619circa 1622

Watercolour and bodycolour heightened with gum, over black chalk, the outlines incised; corrections in lead white along upper back. Silhouetted around tip of tail. Trimmed at top. Mount type G | 19.0 x 21.5 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 927682

This drawing of a common hoopoe was commissioned from the artist Vincenzo Leonardi by the seventeenth-century Roman patron and collector Cassiano dal Pozzo to illustrate a 1622 treatise on birds by Giovanni Pietro Olina titled L'Uccelliera, ovvero discorso della natura e proprietà di diversi uccelli ('The Aviary, or Discourse on the Nature and Characteristics of Diverse Birds'); the engraving by Francesco Villamena based on this drawing appears on fol. 35 verso of this book.

See Birds, Other Animals and Natural Curiosities, Part B.IV/V of The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo: A Catalogue Raisonné (2 vols, Royal Collection Trust 2017), vol. 1, cat.10.

  • Fleur de lys in circle surmounted by crown (cut)

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