Martin Lister and his Remarkable Daughters: The Art of Science in the Seventeenth Century


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Martin Lister and his Remarkable Daughters: The Art of Science in the Seventeenth Century Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: The Bodleian Library
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Pages: 256 Illustrations and other contents: 33 Illustrations, black and white; 46 Illustrations, color Language: English ISBN: 9781851244898 Categories: , , ,

Martin Lister, royal physician and fellow of the Royal Society, was an extraordinarily prolific natural historian with an expertise in shells and molluscs. Disappointed with the work of established artists, Lister decided to teach his daughters, Susanna and Anna, how to illustrate the specimens he studied. The sisters became so skilled at this that Lister entrusted them with his great work, ‘Historiae Conchyliorum’, assembled between 1685 and 1692. This first comprehensive study of conchology consisted of over 1,000 copperplates of shells and molluscs collected from around the world. ‘Martin Lister and his Remarkable Daughters’ reconstructs the creation of this masterwork, from the identification of the original shells to the drawings themselves, and from the engraved copperplates to the draft prints and final books. Susanna and Anna portrayed the shells not only as curious and beautiful objects, but also as specimens of natural history rendered with sensitivity and keen scientific empiricism. Beautiful in their own right, these illustrations and engravings reveal the early techniques behind scientific illustration together with the often unnoticed role of women in the scientific revolution.

Weight0.4891536 kg




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This is the extraordinary and compelling story of how a scientific father and his two artistic daughters created the first comprehensive, illustrated account of the biology of molluscs. -- T.R. Birkhead, author of 'The Wonderful Mr Willughby' 'Historian Anna Marie Roos marshals her considerable talents as a researcher to recover the story of how Lister's daughters learnt to draw and etch scientifically accurate natural history illustrations ... lucid and surprisingly funny ... Roos is to be congratulated on recovering an important episode in the intertwined history of art and science in the early modern period, the history of scientific book production and the hidden role of women in the history of science.' * Nature * 'Fascinating glimpse of 17th-century female artistic endeavour - unstinting, unpaid and, until now, unsung.' * Country Life *

Author Biography

Anna Marie Roos is Reader in the history of science and medicine at the University of Lincoln.