Cabinets of big C
Aston Lever's Museum
"View of Sir Ashton Lever's (1729-1788) incredible museum. Lever began his collection with exotic seashells in 1760 and continued to collect items until he had amassed an astounding 28,000 items, mostly curiosities of the natural world but also many ethnographic items, most notably a large amount of stuff from Captain Cook’s voyages into the South Seas. The Leverian Museum was one of the largest private and most exceptional collections ever amassed by a single Englishman. The individual boxes of birds are quite spectacular but - as Swainson noted - such a display method took up an enormous amount of room and gave the whole museum an air of spectacle. Looking at Lever's collection, it's easy to see why taxonomy - the science of putting all creatures into their genus and species - became increastingly important for naturalists from the early eighteenth century onwwards."