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The Art Of Science: The Historiae Conchyliorum And The Historia Piscium

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Chapter Summary

To accompany his research into material culture, his comparative studies in taxonomy, and to portray data trends using graphs and tables, Lister regularly required good illustrations. Lister's sustained aesthetic and financial commitment to visual portrayals of living creatures came to its most pronounced fruition with the publication of his first edition of the Historiae Conchyliorum in 1685. Lister would also use his expertise attained while creating his book on molluscs to play a pivotal role in the publication of the Royal Society's infamous Historia Piscium (1686) based on the work of Ray and Willoughby. This chapter analyzes to what extent Lister's aesthetic and practical appreciation of the potential of scientific illustration influenced the production of his most significant work, the first systematic publication on shells, the Historiae Conchyliorum. It also ascertains to what extent his expertise informed the creation of the visual components of Francis Willoughby's posthumous Historia Piscium.

Keywords: aesthetic; Francis Willoughby; Historia Piscium; Historiae Conchyliorum; mollusks; Royal Society; scientific illustration; shells



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