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This etching is from a book of George Edwards, who published in 1758 the first volume of his “Gleanings of natural history, exhibiting figures of quadrupeds, birds, insects, plants, &c…”. The figure appeared as plate 218 and shows a “Cangui minor” (Callithrax jacchus) from northeastern Brazil. Described by Edwards in his accompanying text: “a species of animal of the monkey kind, partaking of the nature of a squirrel: the figure is drawn from life…This was a Male…That from which I drew my figure, was the property of the good and very obliging Mrs.Kennon, formerly midwife to the Royal Family, who informed me, that it fed on several sorts of things, as biscuits, fruits, greens, insects, snails &c. and that once, when let loose, it suddenly snatched a Chinese gold-fish out of a bason of water which it killed, and greedily devoured…”. The animal is shown in a small landscape with flowers and a snail. The engraving is shown as it is in the collection of the British Museum [1], but a colour version is seen here.

The snail is a dextral specimen of a Cepaea-like species, which is more clearly seen in the colour picture. Both the shell and snail are shown in top view, but the animal is slightly deformed, showing the four tentacles in an unnatural way.


[1] BML, inv. PD 1862.1011.502, http://to.ly/CUJf.