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Picturing a World

Renaissance herbarium

A 16th manuscript containing hundreds of plants pressed between its pages—what better to inspire historical fiction or a fantasy story? The Herbarium of Ulisse Aldrovandi could provide a precise model for a story set in the Renaissance or a modern-day tale of scholarly sleuthing. Taking a cue from it, you might invent your own magical or scientific object. It could be the hobby of a scientifically inclined woman, the collection of a botanist devoted to creating a taxonomy, or the magical hoard of a literate witch. It might be comprise pressed plants only or it might involve plants stuck between the pages of a lavishly illustrated herbal. In any case, the pictures and the very idea of it made my heart go pitter-pat!
Image via Royal Society Open Science website.

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