Marchese Ferdinando Cospi was a 17th century aristocratic collector of natural curiosities. Like other collections of the time, his was fairly restricted to the eyes of other noblemen, statesmen, and wealthy knowledge-seekers. Throughout the private status of the collection (before being donated to Bologna for research in the latter half of his life) Cospi reveled in adding items that not only educated but amused, shocked and awed.
His collection’s most prized item, was an Italian dwarf named Sebastiano Biavati. Biavati was the only living item in Cospi’s ‘menagerie’, and also served as caretaker to the many rooms of curiosities. He was not an employee of Cospi’s, per se, but a human ‘possession’, living under a vague, displayed house arrest.