Historia Animalium (1551)
Lower Library L.19.2-5
Conrad Gessner's Historia Animalium was the most widely read work of Renaissance zoology. For the first time the five volumes attempted to cover all known animals, and the work was popular for its frequent illustrations, including the famous rhinoceros by Dürer.
Several descriptions of animals and birds were written by Caius, who corresponded with Gessner on the work, and he subsequently donated these volumes to the Library. Caius later used his sketches and descriptions of English dog breeds to produce his own work De Canibus Britannicis. James I, when offered a copy of Caius’s dubious De Antiquitate Cantabrigiensis Academiae, asked if he could have a copy of De Canibus instead.