Illustrating 17th-century science: the Lister Sisters

Part of the display showing the complete process: from shell to sketchbook to engraved plate to printed illustration.

The Bodleian Library is displaying drawings, prints and the original copperplates used to print the engraved illustrations for Martin Lister’s 17th-century study of conchology. Assembled by Dr Anna Marie Roos (History Faculty, University of Oxford) these items tell the story of how two teenagers, Susanna and Anna Lister, worked to produce detailed illustrations of shells and dissected molluscs for their father’s publication. Dr Roos has written about the copperplates in The Conveyor, and about her rediscovery of the plates in Notes and Records of the Royal Society (66:1, March 2012). An article in Nature online displays a slideshow of some of the copperplates and drawings and prints held in the Bodleian and at the Linnean Society and the Royal Society.

Dr Roos will talk about ‘The Art of Science: The Rediscovery of the Lister Copperplates’ on Wednesday, 19 September 2012, in the Convocation House, Bodleian Library. The lecture is free, but booking is recommended.

The display continues in the entrance to the Old Library until 30 September 2012.

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