Collecting objects has always been done, and collecting prints has been done for as long as the oldest loose illustrations exist. Drawings and prints of animals were also collector's items for hobbyists and specialists alike, and they still are.
Iconographia Zoologica is a 19th century collection of zoological prints that was created by bringing together various collections in the library of the Dutch Royal Zoological Society Natura Artis Magistra between 1881 and 1883. The illustrations were systematically sorted according to the Animal Kingdom classification system used at the time ensuring that the state of science within zoology of that time was permanently recorded. The size and structure of Iconographia Zoologica make it immensely valuable to cultural and scientific heritage.
In addition to drawings, Iconographia Zoologica has a particularly large number of prints made using a variety of printing techniques and often hand-coloured. They originate from zoological publications dating back to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Together these prints and drawings constitute a unique paper databank of more than 80,000 illustrations. A selection of approximately 20,000 illustrations of mammals, birds and fish have been included in Memory of the Netherlands.
The collection is housed in the Artis Library, part of the Special Collections of the Library of the University of Amsterdam.