1879 – Manuscript Naturalist’s Journal with Detailed Drawings

Manuscript Drawings of a Naturalist
Some in Watercolour
Anatomical Sketches
Biology – Botany – Fossils

Brixton, Surrey, England, circa 1879-1887. Journal of manuscript drawings made by a British naturalist, containing over 165 drawings, approximately 20 of these painted in watercolour, all with manuscript captions in a fine hand. 8vo. 67 pages with drawings in ink, pencil, and watercolour, including two leafs with drawings recto and verso loosely placed within the volume. Quarter calf over green cloth boards, with gilt title to front “Sketch Book” faintly visible. Volume measures approximately 13,5 x 18,5 x 1 cm. Wear to boards, otherwise in very good condition, a generous volume of skillful drawings.

Most impressively, with a steady hand and perfect shading, this little journal touches upon a wide range in the realm of natural history including biology, botany, and dissection of anatomy.

Insects, amphibians, rodents, fish, birds, bats, and sea snails, are beautifully illustrated and identified.

In the plant kingdom, we find water plants, ferns, and more, including the Lepidodendron – an extinct genus of primitive tree-like plant.

Exceptional drawings are executed in illustrating fossils, something which is usually not seen in volumes such as this.

The naturalist/artist studied scientific works from the UK and also America. A scant few of his drawings illustrate plants and creatures from Canada and the US. For example, his drawing and caption of the Oldhamia antiqua, stated as “the oldest known zoophyte, Wrae Head, Ireland,” is exactly as seen in “The Testimony of the Rocks” by Hugh Miller, published in Boston in 1865.

Brixton is a district of South London, England, within the London Borough of Lambeth. Historically in Surrey, the area remained undeveloped until the beginning of the 19th century, the main settlements being near Stockwell, Brixton Hill and Coldharbour Lane. Brixton was transformed into a middle class suburb between the 1860s and 1890s. In 1888, Electric Avenue was so named after it became the first street in London to be lit by electricity. In this time, large expensive houses were constructed along the main roads in Brixton, which were converted into flats and boarding houses at the start of the 20th century.



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