Browne's Collection: a 'Cabinet of Rarities'

Browne's Collection: a 'Cabinet of Rarities'
Full title: Érik Desmazières, Portrait of Sir Thomas Browne, etching, aquatint, and roulette (2012). Click on 'image metadata' above to find out more. 


Browne had a remarkably inquisitive mind. He questioned existing beliefs through his own observations and experiments. In the process, he assembled an eclectic collection of natural specimens. After a visit to Browne’s house in 1671, John Evelyn described it as,

‘a paradise and Cabinet of rarities and that of the best collection, especially Medails, books, Plants, natural things’.

Browne’s library contained a wide variety of books, from classical authors to the latest scientific publications. These included the works of Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, and Robert Hooke.