Title: Fossil fish from the collection of William Willoughby Cole

Creator: Joseph Dinkel [1806-1891]

Description: Watercolour painting of a montage of 18 fossil fish specimens probably from the collection of William Willoughby Cole, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen, by Joseph Dinkel, [1834-1860s].

The drawing belongs to a series that has its origins as the artwork commissioned by Louis Agassiz as part of the research for his Recherches sur les Poissons Fossiles and Monographie des Poissons Fossiles du Vieux Grès Rouge.

Sir Phillip de Malpas Grey Egerton (1806-1881) and William Willoughby Cole (1807-1886), 3rd Earl of Enniskillen, were lifelong friends and palaeontologists, and each man had his own respective fossil fish cabinet. A large number of their specimens were included in Agassiz’s works, but in order to help him defray the costs of such an expensive undertaking, the artists’ time were paid for by the men on the understanding that the drawings would become their property once the images were copied onto lithographic stones.

After Agassiz’s departure for the USA in 1846, Egerton continued to commission Joseph Dinkel to draw specimens from both men’s fossil cabinets (although there are a few images from other collections) to illustrate later scientific papers, principally Egerton’s ‘Palichthyologic Notes’ series which was published in the Society’s ‘Quarterly Journal’ between 1848-1857 and intended as an addenda to Agassiz’s fish works, and his similarly themed fossil fish descriptions in the ‘Memoirs of the Geological Survey…illustrative of British Organic Remains’, from 1852-1872.

Both men’s sets of drawings were presented to the Geological Society in 1876 and 1881.

Date: [1834-1860s]

Format: Watercolour on paper

Archive reference: LDGSL/616/2/5

Image reference: 16-21

Original size: 40cm x 27cm

Recommended print size: Up to 16 x 12 inches (40 x 30cm)

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