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"Nature display'd; being a short account of such particulars of natural history as was thought most proper to excite curiosity and form the minds of youths"

 Collection — Volume: 1
Call Number: MS C109


Compendium of natural history, physical sciences and technology compiled by Gregory Faux of Thetford, Norfolk, England in 1748 and intended for educational use. Illustrations are mainly of animals, but some of technology (ship's rigging, wine-press, methods of fishing, etc.) Some are copied or based on Pluche (sometimes apparently not illustrating text).


  • Creation: 1748


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.


1 volume : Ornamentation: Illustrations (pen and wash). Title taken from title page. ; Volume measures no taller than 25 cm.

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

Additional title information from a tipped-in title-page: May 3th 1748. Nat' Display'd being a Short account of Such particulars of Natural History as was thought most proper to Excite Curiosity & form the Minds of Youths. G. Faux Delin.

Author's annotations: Gregory Faux has scribbled his name over the end-sheets (once with address) and signed p. 260.

Pages [i-vi] in the volume provide title-pages and an introduction to the volume. Pages 1-65 include topics related to astronomy, comets, optics, chemistry, microscopes and other inventions, and pages 66-71 provide an "Explanation of the Figures."

Pages 72-123 are "Nature display'd," apparently a digest of Humphreys' 1733 translation of Abbé Pluche's Spectacle de la nature, 1732-1750. Topics covered include insects, shellfish, birds and hawking, animals, fish, plants. (Pluche's work appeared in a number of volumes, and the Humphreys' translation, of which the Kenneth Spencer Research Library has a copy, covers only the beginning of it; it is likely that some of the rest of this manuscript is based on Pluche's volumes 3-4, published in 1735 and 1739, that treated earth and the heavens.)

Pages 125-139 contain figures; pages 141-143 concern Grafting; and pages 143-145 discuss "The origin of Arts"--on transportation and wood. Pages 146-152 are more figures and pages 153-216 concern Of Rivers (gold, salt, circulation of water); Mountains (reindeer, buffalo, chamois); the Sea (includes ships, trade, fisheries, shell-fish, sea-plants); the Air (includes weather, earthquakes, air-pressure, smell, speech).

Pages 216-238 cover topics related to fossils and geology, chemistry, mines, gunpowder, glass technology, microscope, jewels, petrefactions, and metal technology. Pages 238-245 regard The Physical Possibility of the Deluge (Theory that the axis of the antediluvian Earth was not tipped); the Last-Judgment will be of fire, which surrounds us presently in the form of light. The last pages in the volume [248-260] contain an index.

Physical Location

MS C109


Pluche, Noël Antoine, 1688-1761. Spectacle de la nature: or, nature display’d. Being discourses on such particulars of natural history as were thought most proper to excite the curiosity, and form the minds of youth. Illustrated with copper plates. Translated from the original French. A translation by Samuel Humphreys of vol. 1 of Noël Antoine Pluche’s 'Le spectacle de la nature.' London: printed for J. Pemberton, N. Prevost, R. Franklin, and C. Davis, 1733. Located at Spencer Research Library at C577.
Guide to the Gregory Faux's Natural History Compendium for Youths Collection
"Nature display'd; being a short account of such particulars of natural history as was thought most proper to excite curiosity and form the minds of youths"
Finding aid prepared by alh, 1974; revised by ksc, 2006, 2007. Finding aid encoded by skt, 2006.
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Language of description
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Preferred citation
Gregory Faux's Natural History Compendium for Youths, Department of Special Collections, MS C109, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States