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Extra resources for Bird Books and Bird Art: An Outline of the Literary History and Iconography of Descriptive Ornithology
A vicissitudinous career had made him acquainted with many different regions and countries, and this had sharpened and developed his powers of observation and interest in natural history, as well as his great practical ability, which he turned to account in silk production and during a period of his life when he was a farmer. His interest in ornithology was of no recent date when he began the publication of his bird book, since he states on that occasion that several of the specimens in his collection were over twenty years old.
Engraving (614; 615), however, is not a suitable means of producing illustrations in the text, for the engraving cannot, like the woodcut, be reproduced by the printing press but, as an intaglio process, the earliest of its kind, must be printed in a special copperplate press. Nevertheless, the engraving replaced the woodcut as the principal means of illustration when the latter declined, and it was therefore the engraving which dominated the decoration of books considered worthy of artistic pictures.
His notes were not published until 1615, when they were edited by Francisco Ximenez in Spanish under the title 'Quatro libros de la naturaleza, y virtudes de las plantas, y animales qu~ estan recevidos en el uso de medicina en la Nueva Espana' (Mexico, 4to; re-issued in 1888). , by members of the above-mentioned Accademia dei Lincei. An edition dated 1651 also exists, the second title-page of which runs 'Nova plantarum, animalium et mineralium Mexicanorum', etc. It consists of works written by various authors and terminates with a section 'Historire animalium et mineralium Novre Hispanire liber unicus in sex tractatus divisus', appearing under Hernandez' name, in which more than 200 birds are enumerated and briefly commented upon.