image willughby, f_historia piscium_1686_skate_tabc4
Image number: RS.9495
Credit: © The Royal Society
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'Laviraia Salv.’

Date

1686

Object type

Material

Technique

Dimensions

height (print): 365mm
width (print): 230mm

Subject

Biology
   > Zoology
      > Ichthyology
Biology
   > Marine biology

Content object

nature
   > animal
      > fish

Description

Study of a ray. Inscribed 'Laviraia Salv.', with handwritten annotation 'A kind of Skate or Flair / Raja Oxyrhynchus major / An Bos antiquorum'. Illustration from De historia piscium libri quatuor, by Francis Willughby and John Ray (Oxford, 1686).

Object history

The Historia Piscium, based on John Ray's editing of the posthumous work of naturalist Francis Willughby, was the first comprehensive book of ichthyology (the study of fishes). The Royal Society was responsible for the printing of the plates, many of which were sponsored by individual Fellows at a cost of one guinea each (this plate was sponsored by Edward Brown); the pages of text were printed separately in Oxford. The book did not sell well, and the resulting financial deficit made it impossible for the Society to pay for the publication of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica.

Associated place

<The World>
   > Europe
      > United Kingdom