Here in Wyoming, my hotel room has a book that provides thumbnails and brief descriptions of all the art on the premises. Nice touch. I was flipping through it in passing, not expecting to find anything of interest. But then I blinked. They have seven prints from “Ichtyologie ou Histoire Naturelle, Generale et Particuliere des Poissons.” There are probably fifty people in the world who would be excited by this. I am one of them.
Most “art” found in this longitude includes paintings of buffalo, usually in a frame made of antelope antlers. So, believe me, I had already noted the Black-Throated Divers from Audubon’s Birds of America outside my room, and appreciated what I’m pretty sure is a trio of William Morris designs down the hall. But I didn’t get excited about it. Audubon and Morris are safe choices. Popular in their time, popular thereafter. If they were the original prints, obviously that would be different and I would be freaking out about security. But, as they’re not, they are no more precious than their siblings found stacked at your local Bed, Bath and Beyond.