Fish with a different angle: The Fresh-Water Fishes of Great Britain by Mrs Sarah Bowdich (1791–1856)

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7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since first appearance, reviews and accounts of The Fresh-Water Fishes of Great Britain (1828-1838) have been surprisingly few. All agree that this rare work is remarkable for its illustrations. Its importance as a whole in the history of ichthyology, however, is largely unknown, or ignored. This article therefore constitutes the first study of the textual and contextual significance of The Fresh-Water Fishes of Great Britain. By examining in chronological order where, and by whom, the work was first reviewed and referenced until the 1860s, the extraordinary contributions that its author, Sarah Bowdich, made to ichthyology at the forefront of the field in the late 1820s can better be appreciated. Indeed, this multiple evidence demonstrates Sarah Bowdich's merits as an ichthyologist of the first order, and as the first woman ichthyologist. But establishing the significance of The Fresh-Water Fishes of Great Britain for the history of ichthyology then raises a further question. Why has it and its author been so ignored or forgotten? By returning for answers to the fields of ichthyology already considered, the article proposes that Sarah Bowdich's different angles on fish offer lines of investigation that are still important for the field today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-240
Number of pages35
JournalAnnals of Science
Volume71
Issue number2
Early online date29 Oct 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2014

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