The Evolution of Paleontological Art
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
Fossils have stirred the imagination globally for thousands of years, starting well before they were recognized as the remains of once-living organisms and proxies of former worlds. This volume samples the history of art about fossils and the visual conceptualization of their significance starting with biblical and mythological depictions, extending to renditions of ancient life as it flourished in long-vanished habitats, and on to a modern understanding that fossil art conveys lessons for the betterment of the human condition. The 29 papers and accompanying artwork illustrate how art about fossils has come to be a significant teaching tool not only about evolution of past life, but also about conservation of our planet for the benefit of future generations.
The fossilist and his engraver: Samuel Springsguth’s illustrations of James Parkinson’s Organic Remains
Published:February 24, 2022
Cherry Lewis*, 2022. "The fossilist and his engraver: Samuel Springsguth’s illustrations of James Parkinson’s Organic Remains", The Evolution of Paleontological Art, Renee M. Clary, Gary D. Rosenberg, Dallas C. Evans
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James Parkinson was an apothecary surgeon, political activist, and paleontologist during the latter part of the long eighteenth century. He is most famous for his 1817 work, An Essay on the Shaking Palsy, in which he was the first to describe and define the symptoms of paralysis agitans, a condition now known as Parkinson’s disease. During his lifetime, however, he was internationally renowned for his three-volume study of fossils, Organic Remains of a Former World. Sales of this work continued for 25 years after Parkinson’s death, even though much of its scientific content had become redundant. This was due to the beauty and fidelity of its illustrations, although Samuel Springsguth, the illustrator and engraver, is never explicitly acknowledged in the work. By examining several extant fossils known to have been in Parkinson’s collection and illustrated in his works, it has been possible to gain some insight into the way that Parkinson and Springsguth worked together when illustrating these volumes.