The third annual #ColorOurCollections week has officially begun! From February 5th through 9th, libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions are showcasing their collections in the form of free coloring sheets. Follow #ColorOurCollections on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms to join in on the fun. Be sure to visit the #ColorOurCollections website for free, downloadable coloring books created for the campaign.
Our 2018 coloring book was inspired by the depths of the sea…as documented in four of our favorite early modern natural histories.
The Alsatian humanist Conrad Lycosthenes’ (1518-1561) sixteenth-century book on signs and marvels includes our cover image, featuring a choppy sea full of terrifying lobsters, scaly serpents, and a retinue of bizarre fish with lolling tongues and vicious fangs. We’re not exactly dreaming of being airdropped into the water with this motley crew of creatures, but we do think they’ll be awfully fun to color.
The Historia Animalium, a five-volume, 4500 page diversionary project for the prolific and energetic Swiss bibliographer Conrad Gesner (1516-1565), was published in Zurich between 1551-1558. Gesner’s volume four, devoted to sea life, includes ethereal cephalopods, a conniving crab, and fish of all sorts, including bishop fish and other strange hybrid forms.
The work of the Italian physician Ulysse Aldrovandi (1522-1605) remains one of our favorite sources for coloring images. Aldrovandi maintained a museum of specimens, and published his findings and those of others in a thirteen volume work on natural history. More on Aldrovandi’s life can be found here (and don’t miss his adorable giraffe, swoon!)
Finally, a contribution from the Jesuit Filippo Bonanni (1638-`1735), once a student of Athanasius Kircher and later curator of Kircher’s museum collection at the Collegio Romano. Our 1709 edition of Bonanni’s catalog of the Collegio Romano is bound with Bonanni’s important work on conchology, the earliest printed book on seashells.
Intrigued by the mysteries of the deep? Download, print and color our coloring book!