Unique Aquarium Illustrations from the 19th Century

I went on a vintage image hunt and found these colorful aquarium illustrations and aquatic gardens from the 19th-century. They’re curated from the books, Ocean gardens : the history of the marine aquarium and The aquarium : an unveiling of the wonders of the deep sea. Both books were published in the 1850’s and are available for free online.
You can also find these guys in the scientific illustration section. Enjoy! If you’re after other sea creatures such as fish, octopus or coral, you can find them in the Marine creature’s section

A Brief History of Aquariums

Aquariums are pretty cool, but where did they come from? Here are some tid-bits I gathered from Britannica:

  • Early aquariums are often credited to the Sumerians, who created man-made ponds specifically to house aquatic life.
  • Aquariums were also recorded in Ancient Egypt, Assyria, and in 1,000 B.C. China.
  • China is also credited with being the first to successfully breed fish (carp) for food.
  • The Ancient Romans took aquariums to another level by building large fish ponds using ocean water.
  • Glass aquariums did exist in 1700’s England, but it wasn’t until the 1800’s that English aquarists began to understand the connection between aquatic animals, sea plants, and oxygen production.
  • The word “aquarium” originally came from the botany field and simply described a container used for collecting aquatic plants.
  • The first “recognizable aquarium” is credited to French naturalist, Jeanne Villepreux-Power.

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