Martin Lister and His Remarkable Daughters
by Anna Marie Roos
ISBN 9781851244898, published in 2019 by the Bodleian Library, Oxford, U.K., hardcover with printed book cover, page size is about 6 by 9 inches, 15 by 23 cm., 182 pages, book is illustrated with many figures in the text and 27 full page color plates
In 17th century England, renowned physician and naturalist Martin Lister embarked on a groundbreaking project: documenting the world's shells in exquisite detail. Between 1685 and 1692, he meticulously compiled his findings in a landmark book titled "Historiae Conchyliorum." This rare treasure, considered the most comprehensive shell study of its time, contained over 1,000 stunning engraved copperplates.
Lister, dissatisfied with available artists to capture accurate illustrations of shells, took an unconventional approach. He trained his own daughters, Susanna and Anna, in the art of scientific illustration. The result? Breathtakingly accurate and lifelike depictions of seashells, hailed by many as the finest book illustrations of the era.
Fast forward to today, and the story of this remarkable family is revisited in "Martin Lister and His Remarkable Daughters." This captivating book delves into the creation of "Historiae Conchyliorum," showcasing the intricate process of copperplate engraving alongside fascinating historical context and lesser-known facts about the book. It's not just a delightful read, but a window into the captivating world of shell collecting as it existed over 300 years ago.