Science as Art: Edward Lear’s Zoological Illustrations

Post 1182

Science as Art: Edward Lear’s Zoological Illustrations

Wynne Parry, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 28 August 2012 Time: 07:02 AM ET
Culmenated Toucan

Culmenated Toucan

Credit: © The Royal SocietyCulmenated Toucan (Raphastos culmenatus) from John Gould FRS, A Monograph of the Ramphastidæ, or Family of Toucans (London, 1834)

Purple Heron

Purple Heron

Credit: © The Royal SocietyPurple Heron (Ardea purpurea) from John Gould FRS, The Birds of Europe (London, 1832–7), vol. 4

Quebec Marmot

Quebec Marmot

Credit: © The Royal SocietyQuebec Marmot (Arctomys empetra) from Gleanings from the Menagerie and Aviary at Knowsley Hall, ed. John Edward Gray FRS (Knowsley, 1846)

Eagle Owl

Eagle Owl

Credit: © The Royal SocietyEagle Owl (Bubo maximus) from John Gould FRS, The Birds of Europe (London, 1832–7), vol. 1

Drawing for Scientists

Drawing for Scientists

Credit: © The Royal SocietyThe 19th century artist and author Edward Lear was best known for his nonsense poetry, including the children’s classic, The Owl and The Pussycat. However, Lear got his start drawing detailed illustrations of animals for scientists. In honor of the bicentennial of Lear’s birth in 1812, The Royal Society in London is hosting an exhibition of his work, drawn mainly from its library. The exhibition’s centrepiece is a folio containing Lear’s zoological illustrations, which records show Charles Darwin checked out of the library. Above, one of Lear’s toucan illustrations.

Malayan Giant Squirrel

Malayan Giant Squirrel

Credit: © The Royal SocietyMalayan Giant Squirrel (Sciurus javensis) from Gleanings from the Menagerie and Aviary at Knowsley Hall, ed. John Edward Gray FRS (Knowsley, 1846)

Ancient Molluscs

Ancient Molluscs

Credit: 1Ammonites, plate 37.jpg © The Royal Society 1Colaptes collaris.jpg © The Royal SocietyAmmonites, from William Buckland FRS, Geology and Mineralogy Considered with Reference to Natural Theology (London, 1836), plate 40

Green-Winged Teal Duck

Green-Winged Teal Duck

Credit: © The Royal SocietyGreen-winged Teal duck (Anas carolinensis) from The Zoology of Captain Beechey’s Voyage (London, 1839)

Spiny Turtle

Spiny Turtle

Credit: © The Royal SocietySpiny Turtle (formerly Emys spinosa) from Thomas Bell FRS, A Monograph of the Testudinata (London, 1832–6)

Eastern Grey Horned Owl

Eastern Grey Horned Owl

Credit: © The Royal SocietyEastern Great Horned Owl (Bubo ascalaphus) from John Gould FRS, The Birds of Europe (London, 1832–7), vol. 1

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