Plate 6 from Nova Reperta
by Johannes Stradanus

Apiarian Knowledge


The relatively brief text (thirty pages) of A New Discovery of an Excellent Method of Bee Houses & Colonies contains detailed instructions for the construction of the artificial beehive illustrated here. Click Here for a Larger ViewThe diagram assumes a reader's interest in the practical application of the information. The very existence of such a book and the fact that it was published at the request of the Royal Society attests to the changing intellectual and socio-economic environment that began affording greater prestige to hands-on knowledge. Both shops listed on the title page were owned by Dorman Newman, one of the most prominent booksellers of his time. The fact that three editions were published within two years perhaps attests to the success of this and other "how-to" books in creating a market for practical research and innovation within the larger pursuit of knowledge, which had been dominated by abstract theoretical concerns since classical times.

Galen Brokaw
University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Suggested Reading

Fussell, G.E. The Old English Farming Books from Fitzherbert to Tull, 1523-1730. London: Crosby Lockwood & Sons, 1947.

McRrae, Andrew. God Speed the Plough: The Representation of Agrarian England, 1500-1660. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Thirsk, Joan. The Rural Economy of England. London: Hambledon Press, 1984.