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Looking for Early Scientific Illustrations of North American Fish


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#1 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
  • NANFA Member
  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 25 April 2015 - 02:25 PM

I was thinking the other day that it would be pretty cool to make a big poster like collage of some of the very early scientific illustrations of North American fish. By early I mean when the first ichthyologist came to the new world the drawings and sketches they made of the fish they found over here. I've found a few so far but not many. I know there's still modern sketches but like I said, I'm looking for the earliest ones of fishes from North America when Europeans were just starting to come over here and study the new organisms. These are the types of pictures I'm looking for below. If anyone can find anymore good pictures of any freshwater NA natives from this time period please post them here as I'd like to compile as many as I can.
image.jpg image.jpg
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#2 mattknepley

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  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 25 April 2015 - 03:47 PM

That would be a neat project. Maybe Olaf will chime in; I think he's pretty big into "Americana" fish lit.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#3 zooxanthellae

zooxanthellae
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  • North Carolina

Posted 25 April 2015 - 03:57 PM

The earliest I can recall would be from John White. He was an early colonist and painter in the 1500's who made tons of drawings depicting native americans, including the fishes they caught. 

 

http://en.wikipedia....ist_and_artist)

 

John+White+flying+fish.jpg



#4 olaf

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  • NANFA Member

Posted 25 April 2015 - 05:24 PM

I've been collecting and restoring images of this sort for years. I love old illustrations to an unhealthy degree. I have many plans to use them in both art and future fish publications.
Here's how to find them: read any old books you can and see what older authors they cite, make a list of authors and titles, and then find a good science library that will let you scan their old books. I scan to RAW files at 600-1200 dpi with a super high quality large format scanner. I scan each image several times with different settings (such as white balance, contrast, color adjustments, etc. I then use Photoshop to combine the images and clean them up.
(The sucker image Sean included above is either from my blue sucker post here on this forum or from the blue sucker article my site: http://moxostoma.com/bluesuckernames/. I don't really mind since it's from a low quality PDF source. I did what I could to bring out the details from the stains, but there wasn't sufficient info in the file to get close to the original printed image's quality.)
In general, any PDFs you find online aren't of high enough quality for more than small prints at best (because they were scanned to make the text available without eating up too much bandwidth, and because they're not intended to be printed--just to be seen on screens).
Redhorse ID downloads and more: http://moxostoma.com

#5 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
  • NANFA Member
  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 25 April 2015 - 06:18 PM

I've been collecting and restoring images of this sort for years. I love old illustrations to an unhealthy degree. I have many plans to use them in both art and future fish publications.
Here's how to find them: read any old books you can and see what older authors they cite, make a list of authors and titles, and then find a good science library that will let you scan their old books. I scan to RAW files at 600-1200 dpi with a super high quality large format scanner. I scan each image several times with different settings (such as white balance, contrast, color adjustments, etc. I then use Photoshop to combine the images and clean them up.
(The sucker image Sean included above is either from my blue sucker post here on this forum or from the blue sucker article my site: http://moxostoma.com/bluesuckernames/. I don't really mind since it's from a low quality PDF source. I did what I could to bring out the details from the stains, but there wasn't sufficient info in the file to get close to the original printed image's quality.)
In general, any PDFs you find online aren't of high enough quality for more than small prints at best (because they were scanned to make the text available without eating up too much bandwidth, and because they're not intended to be printed--just to be seen on screens).

Thanks for the info! Yes, I did find the suckers from your website. Any specific artists or authors that you know of that I could start with?
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#6 olaf

olaf
  • NANFA Member

Posted 26 April 2015 - 02:40 PM

I don't have any specific recommendations, but it's often useful to pick a family, genus or species and start by seeing if the original and subsequent descriptions of those fish have illustrations and/or mention previous works. They aren't likely to say that an earlier source has an illustration, but you can usually check them online.
A similar approach is to pick a geographic areaand research the history of exploration there. Once you know who were the first Europeans in the area, find their journals, maps, etc. online and see if they drew any fish. Some of them write endlessly about animals and never mention fish at all, but some do better. Those that explored coasts and big rivers paid more attention to fish, for obvious reasons.
Beware that the early observers very often applied names from their home continent to the fish of this one, despite there being no biological connection between the two fishes, or made up names that don't resemble anything we use now.
Redhorse ID downloads and more: http://moxostoma.com

#7 gerald

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  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 26 April 2015 - 03:10 PM

on a related topic ...

 

NORTHEAST NATURAL HISTORY & SUPPLY

Natural History Book Sale List XX: Fishes,  April 2015. 

Contact: Jay Cordeiro; unionid@comcast.net; (508) 494-8764

 

The first books list for 2015 has arrived!

 

Northeastern Natural History & Supply is pleased to offer our latest list of rare, antiquarian and out of print books and serials.  List XX includes approximately 500 works on ichthyology, fishes, aquaria, fisheries, fishing and angling.  We have not produced a fishes catalog in 2 ½ years so a new list is past due.  This catalog includes many international titles, some in French and German, dating back to 1830. Titles cover disciplines of taxonomy and classification, identification and morphology, anatomy and physiology, distribution and biogeography, habitat and ecology, hunting and fishing, fisheries and aquaculture, exploration, and paleontology. A few items of interest include William K. Vanderbilt’s Expedition To Galapagos on the “Ara”, Bleeker and Pollen’s Fishes of Madagascar, the fish and reptiles volume of DeKay’s Zoology of New York (we also have other volumes in the series- please inquire), Goode’s complete Fisheries and Fishery Industry of the United States, and what is believed to be one of the first works on keeping home aquaria in the U.S.- The Aquarium by P.H. Gosse. Also included are 20 original lithographic plates from the works of Buffon, Couch, and Donovan.

 

Please contact me with any questions. If I do not respond right away, it is because I’ve gone fishing looking to top New England’s largest record chain pickerel, Esox niger at 9 lbs, 5 oz (set in 1954)!

 

Jay Cordeiro

Northeast Natural History & Supply Co.

24 North Grove Street

Middleboro, MA 02346 USA

unionid@comcast.net

Online: https://sites.google.com/site/northeastnaturalhistory/

Join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NortheastNaturalHistorySupply for future announcements, upcoming lists, new images, and discussion of natural history topics


Gerald Pottern
-----------------------
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#8 olaf

olaf
  • NANFA Member

Posted 26 April 2015 - 09:13 PM

Most, if not all, of those are readily available online. Not at art quality, but free. NOAA hosts the Goode books (see my blue sucker post for a link).
Redhorse ID downloads and more: http://moxostoma.com

#9 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
  • NANFA Member
  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 03 May 2015 - 11:46 AM

Anyone have any decent illustrations of Great Lakes fish? I'd like to make my first project for this to be based around fish found in the Great Lakes or if possible to be so specific, Lake Erie.
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#10 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
  • NANFA Member
  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 03 May 2015 - 12:55 PM

I did some digging and found a lot of good pictures from an artist named HL Todd that I will probably use, but it doesn't cover every species on my list, only about 2/5 of the species I'd like to include. If anyone can find some good sketches or illustrations (preferably older ones without color (so either B&W or tea stained in appearance), but as long as they're hand drawn they're fine) of any of these fish then please post them here or PM me, until then I'll keep searching.

~Species I still need~

Silver Lamprey
Spotted Gar
Longjaw Cisco
Silver Chub
Emerald Shiner
Spottail Shiner
Spotfin Shiner
Sand Shiner
Mimic Shiner
Blacknose Shiner
Bluntnose Minnow
Longnose Sucker
Spotted Sucker
Flathead Catfish
Stonecat
Brindled Madtom
Burbot
Freshwater Drum
Trout Perch
Channel Darter
Logperch
Eastern Sand Darter
Johnny Darter
Greenside Darter
Fourhorn Sculpin
Deepwater Sculpin
Slimy Sculpin
Mottled Sculpin
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#11 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
  • NANFA Member
  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 03 May 2015 - 02:36 PM

I was able to find quite a few more illustrations. I've almost got every fish on my list of ones I'll need for this project. All that remains are these.

Spotted Gar
Longjaw Cisco
Silver Chub
Spotted Sucker
Flathead Catfish
Brindled Madtom
Eastern Sand Darter
Greenside Darter
Hourhorn Sculpin
Spoonhead Sculpin
Slimy Sculpin
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#12 fundulus

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 06:48 PM

I don't know if the 1890s is too late for your search, but Stephen Foote Denton produced some amazing prints with a focus on New York state. I found one of his originals of a Pumpkinseed at a huge flea market in Massachusetts 25 years ago for $15, that was then....
Bruce Stallsmith, Huntsville, Alabama, US of A

#13 az9

az9
  • NANFA Member

Posted 14 September 2015 - 11:31 PM

The earliest I can recall would be from John White. He was an early colonist and painter in the 1500's who made tons of drawings depicting native americans, including the fishes they caught. 
 
http://en.wikipedia....ist_and_artist)
 
John+White+flying+fish.jpg


Thanks for the link. Very interesting reading.



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