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Plate XXX. Four whales.

Date: c 1870
Overall: 160 x 252 mm, 0.25 kg
Medium: Engraving on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00019651
Place Manufactured:United Kingdom

User Terms

    This coloured print depicts four whales lying on a shoreline, consisting of a Pilot whale, Beluga whale, Narwhal and one unidentified species. Many natural history drawings were produced in the 18th and 19th century, when the classification of flora and fauna became increasingly important to science and society. This print was hand painted in Great Britain and would have appealed to the general public's fascination with the mysterious creatures.
    SignificanceThis print represents the classification and scientific study of flora and fauna in the 19th century.
    HistoryKnowledge of whales by European culture and science was an evolving process. The earliest drawings of the animal show a mythical monster-like creature with horns spouting water. Natural history artists were largely unable to draw from life and instead used descriptions given by explorers, scientists and publishers. Many of their works were copied from earlier drawings and offered only slightly different interpretations of the previous studies. By the 19th century artists were increasingly providing more faithful depictions and moving away from the mythical depiction of whales.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Plate XXX. Four whales.

    Web title: Untitled print of four whales

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