image gosse, p h_the aquarium_1854_plate 2
Image number: RS.10761
Credit: © The Royal Society

‘The smooth anemone’




Nicholas Hanhart (active 1846-1855, British), Printmaker


Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888, British), Illustrator

Object type




height (print): 136mm
width (print): 86mm


Content object

   > animal


Underwater scene showing the smooth anemone identified by the illustrator as Actinia mesembryanthemum (now Actinia equina?). The sea anemone is shown with seaweed and a marine snail.

The author sees these creatures under Byng Cliff near Weymouth, Dorset. The accompanying text reads: ‘I walked our upon the low ledge, marked with the long ribbon-like leaves of the Zostera, green and glossy, growing in beds in the pools and nooks that indent the ledges, and the purple tufts of mossy sea-weed that fringe the dark hollows of the rock; turned over a few stones and saw colonies of the plump and fruit-like smooth Anemone (Actinia mesembryanthemum) of various hues, adhering to their sides...’

Plate 2 from the book The aquarium: an unveiling of the wonders of the deep sea, by Phillip Henry Gosse (Van Voorst, London, 1854). Inscribed: ‘Pl.II. P.H.Gosse, delt. Hanhart, Chromo lith. THE SMOOTH ANEMONE &c.’

Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888) was a populariser of marine biology and an aquarium inventor elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1856.

Associated place

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