Martin Lister and his Remarkable Daughters

SKU: MNH-103071

'Fascinating glimpse of 17th-century female artistic endeavour - unstinting, unpaid and, until now, unsung.' - Country Life

'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 (Bloomsbury, 2018)

'This is a delightful book to read and look at. The design, layout and, especially, the illustration of Anna Marie Roos's publication are as important as its contents - as were the marvellous drawings , etchings and engravings (especially of shells) to those of the path-breaking Historiae conchyliorum in 1685 by the British physician, collector and naturalist Martin Lister. ... thoroughly enjoyable, lively and beautifully produced book - Journal of the History of Collections 

'A very interesting story … beautiful and informative illustrations, used to great effect by Roos in the present volume.' - The Art Newspaper Review

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 images of the specimens he studied. The sisters became so skilled at this that Lister entrusted them with his great work, Historiæ 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.

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

  • Hardback
  • 224 pages, 234 x 156mm
  • 46 colour & 33 black & white illustrations
  • ISBN: 9781851244898
  • Publication October 2018

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