Conchology, or, the Natural History of Shells: Stunning 19th-Century Illustrations from the World’s First Pictorial Encyclopedia of Mollusks

A century-old annual report by one of the best public-good organizations our civilization has produced– New york citys Cooper Union, website of the speech that bewinged Lincolns ascent to the presidency, alma mater to some of the most visionary artists and thinkers of the previous century and a half, founded by the inspired mechanic Peter Cooper the year Darwin published On the Origin of Types– starts with this plainspoken benediction of a mission declaration:

Readily available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Born in 1771, the English biologist and malacologist George Perry ended up being the periods preeminent scholar of shell-bearing mollusks. In 1811, he released his research study in this charming 266-page treasure, featuring sixty-two color plates of fascinating and odd animals, illustrated by the English artist and engraver John Clarke, “performed from the natural specimens and including the current discoveries”– the mobile houses of marine animals turned voluptuaries of geometry and color, fancy living urns, extravagant lampshades for the palace of some sea god, miniature Hindu temples, gorgeous drag queens of the deep, otherworldly amphoras from the bottom of this amazing world.

For over half a century the Cooper Union has given, in order to advance Science and Art, education to over 180,000 males and females, no matter race or creed, without cash and without price.

Readily available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Perry keeps in mind how deeply and commonly shells have actually permeated the human cultural experience over the ages– from the drinking cups used in ancient religious rituals to the purple color drawn out from a delicate Mediterranean shell of the genus Polyplex, with which the early poets produced the oldest making it through writings, to the volutes beautifying the renowned capital columns of Grecian architecture, which obtain their shape from the geometry of the rams horn squid, the only surviving member of the genus Spirula.

In 1893, transferred to assist this ennobling undertaking, the wealthy widow Mary Stuart developed a $10,000 yearly fund– close to $300,000 today– devoted to obtaining important, scrumptiously showed uncommon books for the Cooper Union library. Amongst them is the worlds first comprehensive detailed encyclopedia of shell-dwelling animals: Conchology, or, The Natural History of Shells– a work I discovered by a sidewise research path during my tender experiences in snailhood.

Offered as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.In a period when the chief function of science was seen as a confirmation of the excellence of a Creator-god, half a century before Darwin started shattering the fragile creationist mythology of unreason with the anvil of his elegantly reasoned evolutionary discovery, Perry opens the book with a poetic belief reverencing the aesthetic and spiritual benefits of shells beyond their science:

Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Complement with some psychedelic fishes from the worlds first encyclopedia of marine life in color, some candy-colored corals from the worlds very first encyclopedia of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem, and the amazing butterfly illustrations of two nineteenth-century Australian teenage siblings who fomented one of the greatest preservation victories of the twenty-first century.

Readily available as a print and as a face mask, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.Working with the copy digitized by the wonderful Biodiversity Heritage Library, I have actually restored and color-corrected the finest, most beautiful, most otherworldly of these visual serenades to the varied elegance of our irreplaceable world to make them available as prints and face masks– part of the growing collection of vintage science face masks, benefiting The Nature Conservancy.

The research study of Shells, or testaceous animals, is a branch of natural history which, although not greatly beneficial to the mechanical arts, or the human economy, is, nonetheless, by the appeal of the subjects it comprises, most very well adapted to recreate the senses, to improve the taste or innovation of the Artist, and, lastly and insensibly, to result in the contemplation of the great quality and wisdom of the Divinity in their development.