Emil Rostrup (1831-1907), renowned botanist and plant pathologist was from a very young man intensely engaged in the world of nature and from his childhood home Steensgaard in Lolland he sought out and studied the local flora and fauna. His talent for observation, illustration and systematic documentation was exceptional and impressive from the start and became decisive for his career.
Among the library's unique specimens and relics are the contents of a small box containing 44 coloured drawings of birds made by Rostrup as a teenager. The collection originally contained 92 pictures (80 species - some both male and female, some young and old), but "unfortunately in course of time more than half of these pictures have disappeared by lending out or in other ways... " So wrote Rostrup as old in the cover letter attatched to the delivery to the Royal Agricultural University 20th December 1906 a few weeks before his death in January. The cover letter is headed Painted birds from Lolland and begins thus: "Even in my boyhood, I had an unlimited interest in the living nature and especially in birds, insects and plants. In some of these years, 1844-49, from my 13th to 18th year, I regularly went hunting and shooting birds - not to eat them or of destructiveness, but to get to keep them in a better recollection by drawing and painting them with water colour, of course in a dilettante-related manner, as I had no trace of the instructions in this regard, any more than by my natural history studies in general... "
Besides the cover letter is also the notebook from the young Rostrup, where he has recorded accurate data when and where the individual birds were killed - ex. no. 1 (not preserved) "Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs. Shot in the summer of 1844 in the garden of Steensgaard (male)" These data are also indicated by the pictures themselves.
Below are the surviving pictures in chronological order with Rostrup's Danish naming: