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Pasta For Nightingales - A 17th-century handbook of bird-care and folklore

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Pasta For Nightingales - A 17th-century handbook of bird-care and folklore

Helen Macdonald

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Cassiano dal Pozzo, (1588-1657) now celebrated as one of the most important art patrons in Italy of the seven – teenth century, commissioned a number of exquisite studies of birds as part of his famous `Paper Museum’. In 1622 the lawyer and ornithologist Giovanni Pietro Olina used these drawings which are now kept in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, as the basis for the illustrations in his Uccelliera .

Pasta for Nightingales combines Cassiano’s original artwork with selections from the first English translation of Olina’s text. It includes such enchanting insights as the idea that robins were epileptic, or suffered from dizziness, and that the hoopoe overindulged in grapes until it became `dazed and half-drunk.’ However it also includes much fascinating early natural history and ornithological observation – as well as the secret recipe for pasta to keep your nightingale happy and encourage it to sing.

A unique celebration of the beginnings of ornithology, designed in sympathy with the character of the 17th- century original.

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