Elizabeth Nodder and The Naturalist’s Miscellany

Alice Austin, Conservator

The Library Company owns the first twenty-one (of twenty-four) volumes of Vivarium Naturae, or, The Naturalist’s Miscellany, which members of the Nodder family issued between 1789 and 1813. Artist-illustrator Frederick Polydore Nodder’s name appears on the title page along with the name of author George Shaw until volume 13, when the title page lists George Shaw and E.R. Nodder instead. Apparently, after her husband died, widow Elizabeth Nodder takes over the business – as the wording on many of the beautiful plates in that volume suggests: “London, published Oct 1st, 1801, by Elizabeth Nodder, Sons & Co. Newman Street.”

Black Butterfly
Pilot Mackerel

The title page of volume fourteen lists the author George Shaw and also E. and R. Nodder (Elizabeth and her son Richard P. Nodder). Volumes fifteen through twenty-one list George Shaw and E. Nodder on the title pages. Many of the plates in volume twenty-one read “drawn, engraved and published by R.P. Nodder,” indicating that mother and son continued to collaborate.  Elizabeth’s life remains a mystery, but the 19th-century volumes of The Naturalist’s Miscellany show that she persevered following the death of her artist-husband Frederick Polydore Nodder. Her legacy is the later volumes in this series, with their extraordinarily beautiful natural history plates.

Corded Murex
White-Billed Woodpecker