The Magic of Birds

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More About This Title The Magic of Birds


Birds have captured people's imagination since earliest times, with their fascinating plumage, behavior, and power of flight. In this beautifully and unusually illustrated book, Celia Fisher traces the remarkable breadth of ways in which artists, writers, and storytellers have depicted the enduring magic of birds. Used as symbols of freedom and captivity, ill omen and divine message, seasons and the spirit, birds have delighted and haunted people for centuries. From the myths of ancient Egypt to the medieval Islamic "conference of the birds," and featuring exotic species from around the globe as well as humble garden birds, Fisher explores the art, legends, and literature of many world traditions. She reveals how the great age of exploration brought spectacular, newly discovered birds to European attention, and showcases stunning paintings from travelers in Asia, Australia, and the Americas.


Celia Fisher gained her MA and PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she studied flowers in 15th-century paintings and manuscripts. She lectures and writes widely on the history of plants and gardens in art. Her previous books include The Medieval Flower Book, The Golden Age of Flowers, and Flowers of the Renaissance.