It's summer! The Curiosity Cabinet has been on holiday but we thought we would send some exotic, faraway inspiration your way. While we're currently enjoying sizzling beaches and golden sands, we're still looking to the past for inspiration and the great voyages of the Enlightenment came to mind. When exotic birds and unknown flora & fauna were first discovered and documented by artists and explorers in 17th and 18th centuries, a lush language of printed imagery evolved. Our pick of antique natural history prints below, are testament to the rich visual history that recorded and brought the natural world to life in European homes hundreds of years ago.
Inspired by Art Nouveau design, the Parisian entomologist and designer Eugène Séguy created lurid illustrations inspired by antique natural history prints which were later transformed into textile designs. His scientifically accurate drawings of butterflies and insects are magnified into spectacular creations. While they represent the sublime beauty of nature, they are rendered as such that they become abstract patterns of bold colours and forms.