Cornell's Mann Library

Louis Renard. Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes. Amsterdam, 1754.

Printed from engraved copper plates with hand coloring.

First published in 1718, this vividly illustrated book contains “Fishes, crayfishes, and crabs, of diverse colours and extraordinary form, that are found around the islands of the Moluccas and on the coasts of the southern lands.”  It is the earliest known work on marine biology to be produced in color.

The book features 100 plates with 460 hand-colored copper engravings of 415 fish, 41 crustaceans, two stick insects, a dugong, and a mermaid of the Indo-West Pacific Ocean.  Hailed as a serious scientific effort, Poissons was important in the development of animal illustration.  Although the plates are rife with embellishment and liberties of coloration, most of the organisms depicted are actual tropical species.

Cornell's Mann Library (Top Shelf Gallery) 
237 Mann Drive, Ithaca, NY