Wednesday, 29 August 2012
The Light of Science
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Georg Scharf after Henry Thomas de la Beche
Image 228 x 319 mm, Sheet 301 x 377 mm
Duria Antiquior, or a more ancient Dorsetshire, is the first print to illustrate prehistoric life, drawn by Georg Scharf after the water colour by the geologist and paleontologist Henry Thomas De la Beche. There is no publication line but it is thought to date to 1830 or soon thereafter.
A great supporter of the work and importance of Mary Anning, of Lyme Regis, De la Beche drew a sketch, in 1830, entitled Duria Antiquior - A More Ancient Dorset, which showed Mary Anning's finds: (three types of Ichthyosaur, a Plesiosaur and Dimorphodon). It even appears to show the production of coprolites, from a terrified plesiosaur. De la Beche assisted Anning, who was having financial difficulties, by having a lithographic print made from his watercolour, and donating the proceeds from the sale of the prints to her. This became the first such scene from deep time to be widely circulated.
Refrences: Campbell, Michael J. John Martin, 1789-1854 Creation of Light Prints and Drawing from the Campbell Collection. Valencia Madrid and Bibao, 2006.
Rudwick, Martin. Scenes from Deep Time (1992) pp. 42-47