About antique prints of Corals & Molluscs
You know the saying “there are always other fish in the sea”? Well, it’s not just fish! There’s all the other cute and decorative beasties – Actinozoa, Argonauts, Hydrozoa, Asteria, Lamellibranchiata, Mollusca, Tellina, Scallop, Mytille, Arcade, Echinodermata, Stellerida, and Ascidians.
Light as a flake of foam upon the wind,
Keel upward, from the deep emerged a shell,
Shaped like the moon ere half her horn is filled;
Fraught with young life, it righted as it rose,
And moved at will along the yielding water.”
“Whether on crystal rocks ye rove,
Beneath the bosom of the sea
Wand’ring in many a coral grove.
Most marine life is found near the coast. Life under the sea is still poorly understood. It is very diverse. Sea monsters played a big role in ancient times. They are depicted on ancient maps, and people believed in them. The monsters were giant squid, man eating whales, dragons, water-sprouting monsters that ate whole ships, sea sirens. Some of these actually existed ,such as the sea siren or mermaid which could have been mistaken for sea cows, manatees or dugongs. Shell collecting was a great hobby, until people started to understand more about the creatures that lived in them.
Charles Joseph Pancoucke (1737-1798) published Encyclopedie Methodique in 1782. He revised and expanded the Encyclopedie by Diderot and d’Alembert. He re-arranged it by subject matter, not as before, in alphabetical order. He had previously been involved with the publishing of Diderot’s Encyclopedia, which was very popular as it had been banned by the government and condemned by the Pope. The Encyclopedia was edited by Jean Baptiste Antoine de Monet Chevalier de la Marck (1744-1829)known as Lamarck. After a distinguished military career, he developed an interest in Botany. He published Flore Francaise in 1778, and in 1779 after he became a member of the French Academy of Science, was involved with the Jardin de Plants which became the Natural History Museum. He was appointed Professor of Zoology in 1793. There are many examples of this beautiful work such as Sea Urchins, Asteria, Oysters, above.