Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Light of Science

In our latest mini-catalogue we present a selection of weird and wonderful prints of scientific interest. The catalogue includes caricatures satirising some of the monumental scientific breakthroughs of the 19th century alongside portraits of significant academic figures and other curiosities.

Please click here to download a copy of the catalogue.

Duria Antiquior
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.

CW 128

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

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