Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.20603

    Thornback rays

    Unknown, Artist
    Object type
    Library reference
    height (page): 365mm
    width (page): 230mm
    Content object
       > animal
          > fish
    Ichthyological study of four thornback rays.

    1.Study of a thornback ray, Raja clavate [?] here styled Raia aspera Rondeletti
    2. Study of female thornback ray, Raja clavate [?] here styled Raia asperrima, Rondeletti, showing thorns on the underside.
    3. Study of a thornback ray, here styled Raia clavate, Rondel.
    4. Study of a the underside of a thornback Ray, here styled Raiæ clavatæ, Rondel

    Printed inscription: ‘1.Raia aspera Rondel. 2. Raia asperrima, Rondel. 3. Raia clavate, Rondel. (further annotated by hand The Thornback) 4. Altera species Raiæ clavatæ, Rondel. Tab: D:2. Sumptibus Dni Cyril Wych Eq: aur é S:R.’ Numbered ‘18’ top right-hand corner.

    Plate D.2 from De historia piscium libri quatuor, by Francis Willughby and John Ray (Oxford, 1686).

    Francis Willughby (1635-1672), British naturalist, was an Original Fellow of the Royal Society.

    John Ray (1627-1705), British naturalist, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1667.

    Sir Cyril Wyche (ca.1632-1707), British politician, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1661 and was President from 1683-1684.
    Object history
    The Historia Piscium, a work begun by Francis Willughby (1635–1672), completed by John Ray (1627–1705), was the first comprehensive book of ichthyology. It consists of two parts, the text and illustrations, which were printed separately but frequently bound together. For both parts, Ray drew heavily on works by others, including Hippolytus Salviani (1514-1572), Guillaume Rondelet (1507-1566), Conrad Gessner (1516-1565), Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605) and more.

    The Royal Society was responsible for publication of this work, including the printing of its plates, of which there are 187 in total. This proved to be an expensive endeavour, and many of the plates were sponsored by individual Fellows to help defray the costs, such as this one, sponsored by Cyril Wyche (ca.1632-1707). This copy of Historia Piscium is annotated with the remarks of Tancred Robinson (1658-1748) penned down by Francis Aston (1644-1715); with later annotations by Cromwell Mortimer (c.1699-1752).
    Related fellows
    Francis Willughby (1635 - 1672, British) , Naturalist
    John Ray (1627 - 1705, British) , Naturalist
    Associated place
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          > United Kingdom
             > London
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