Enfilade

New Book | Martin Lister and his Remarkable Daughters

Posted in books by Editor on March 24, 2019

Distributed in North America by The University of Chicago Press:

Anna Marie Roos, Martin Lister and his Remarkable Daughters: The Art of Science in the Seventeenth Century (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2019), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-1851244898, $40.

A royal physician and fellow of the Royal Society, Martin Lister was an extraordinarily prolific natural historian with an expertise in shells and mollusks. 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 that Lister entrusted them with his great work, Historiæ Conchyliorum, assembled between 1685 and 1692. This first comprehensive study of conchology consisted of more than one thousand copperplates of shells and mollusks collected from around the world. Martin Lister and his Remarkable Daughters reconstructs the creation of this masterwork, presenting original drawings, engraved copperplates, draft prints, and photographs of the finished books.

Susanna and Anna portrayed the shells of this collection not only as curious and beautiful objects, but also as specimens of natural history, rendering them with sensitivity and keen scientific empiricism. Beautiful in their own right, their illustrations and engravings reveal the early techniques behind scientific illustration and offer fascinating insight into the often hidden role of women in the scientific revolution.

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

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