Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.20606

    Rays and electric eel

    Unknown, Artist
    Object type
    Library reference
    height (page): 365mm
    width (page): 230mm
    Content object
       > animal
          > fish
    Ichthyological study of five species of fish, including four rays and an electric eel.

    1.Study of a common guitarfish, Rhinobatos rhinobatos [?] here styled Rhinobatus seu Squatinoraia F. Colum.
    2. Study of an electric eel, Electrophorus, here styled Puraque Brasiliensibus.
    3. Study of a stingray here styled Pastinaca marina D. F. C.
    4. Study of a Mediterranean starry ray [?], here styled Raia asterias aspera Rondeletii.
    5. Study of a brown ray, Raja miraletus [?], here styled Raia oculate aspera Ronddeletii

    Printed inscription ’ 1. Squatino = raia F. Colum. 2. Puraque Brasiliens. 3. Pastinaca marina D. F. C. 4. Raia asterias aspera. Rond. 5. Raia oculate et aspera Rond. Tab: D: 5. SumptD. Samuelis Pepys Præsidis Societalis Regalis.’ With further hand annotation against figure 1 ‘Rhinobatiy sqatinoraja.’ Numbered 21’ top right-hand corner.

    Plate D.5 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 the Society’s then-President Samuel Pepys (1633-1703). 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>
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          > United Kingdom
             > London
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