Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.20605

    Electric ray

    Date
    1686
    Creator
    Unknown, Artist
    Object type
    Library reference
    18574
    Material
    Technique
    Dimensions
    height (page): 365mm
    width (page): 230mm
    Subject
    Content object
    nature
       > animal
          > fish
    Description
    Study of an electric ray here styled Torpedo Salu and under the common name cramp-fish.

    Printed inscription: ‘Torpedo Salu. Tab: D:4. Sumptibus Tancredi Robinson MD é S:R. ’ with further hand annotation ‘ The Cramp-fish.’ Numbered 20’ top right-hand corner.

    Plate D.4 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.

    Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), British naval official and diarist, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1665 and served as President between 1684-1686.
    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 Tancred Robinson (ca.1657-1748). 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
    <The World>
       > Europe
          > United Kingdom
             > London
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