Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.20625

    Various fish species

    Unknown, Artist
    Object type
    Library reference
    height (page): 365mm
    width (page): 230mm
    Content object
       > animal
          > fish
    Ichthyological study of various fish species, including:

    1. A sandlance, here styled Anglorum and under the common name ‘sand-eel’.
    2. A suckerfish, Remora, here styled Iperuquiba Brasiliensibus.
    3. A rock gunnel or butterfish, Pholis gunnellus, here styled Gunnellus Cornubiensium.
    4. A weatherfish, Misgurnus fossilis, here styled Misgurn Norimbergae.

    Printed inscription: ‘1. Sand-Eels Anglorum/ 2. Iperuquiba Brasiliensibus./ 3. Gunnellus Cornubiensium./ 4. Misgurn Norimbergae./ Tab: G.8. Sumptibus D. Ios Williamson Eq: aur: e S. R.’ with further handwritten annotation ‘[1] Ammodytes the Lance/ [2] Remora Imperat Sucking=fish/ [3] Butterfish/ [4] Misgurn seu fisgurn Germanorum An Mustela Fossilis?/ The British sand-eels have only one long finn upon the Back. That of Salvian hath quadratus an sint dua species.’ Numbered ‘39’ in the top right-hand corner.

    Plate G:8 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.

    Joseph Williamson (1633-1701), British government official, was a founding Fellow of the Royal Society, elected in 1660. He went on to serve as its President from 1677 to 1680. He was also Assistant to the Royal African Company in 1673 and again from 1675 to 1677, a Crown-approved British monopoly which was heavily involved in the transatlantic slave trade.
    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 Joseph Williamson (1633-1701). 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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