Amongst the greatest books every created are the large-scale works of natural history researched and written by apothecaries, scientists and others for whom the study of the natural world was a consuming passion. Behind each book there is a story to tell - how and why the volume was created, the vicissitudes suffered by those engaged in its production, the slow journey to the market, and above all the beauty of the plates, which today are so often reproduced out of their original context and often very much smaller. Such books are now amongst the rarest and most sought-after by today's collectors. For example "Hortus Eystettensis", Thornton's "Temple of Flora", Audubon's "Birds of America" and the Daniells' "Oriental Scenery". The stories behind many such books are told by Ray Desmond, with many reproduced colour plates from original copies in The British Library and other major archives.