Advent calendar / History / Library

Door nine: A fossil fish is for life, not just for Christmas*

nineA christmas present for the geologist who has everything….

Louis Agassiz (1807 – 1873) gained international recognition as the leading figure on fossil ichthyology after the publication of the five volume Recherches sur les Poissons Fossiles, lavishly illustrated with 400 lithographic plates of fish (1833-1843). In 1836 he was awarded the Geological Society’s Wollaston Medal.

Holocetrum Leo resizedComprising over 2,000 watercolours and drawings, these images of fossil fish, dating from the 1830s-1860s, were copied from private and public collections around Europe, principally by the Austrian artist Joseph Dinkel.

The Geological Society Library is raising funds to conserve and digitise over 2000 unique drawings from The Louis Agassiz Fossil Fish collection – and if you Sponsor A Fish as a Christmas present we’ll send a certificate!

IMG_1353For many years the drawings were kept in a trunk in the Geological Society Museum and later in different places around the Society. We would now like to make them accessible to future generations of researchers by conserving and digitising the entire collection.

If you would like to help the Library and Archive in this project, a small contribution of £20 will allow us to carefully clean, conserve and digitise one fish. The names of all sponsors will be included in a roll of honour in the Archive and on our website.

William Smith Certificate Web smallSponsor A Fish as a Christmas present on behalf of a friend or relative and we’ll also send a certificate, information about the Agassiz collection and a copy of Geoscientist magazine featuring an article about the Sponsor  A Fish Appeal.  Certificates can be posted to you or directly to the recipient with a  personal message from you – order by 16th December to guarantee delivery before Christmas!

Call +44(0) 207 432 0999 or e-mail


* Though unlike a puppy, you do not have to pet, walk or feed your fossil fish.

One thought on “Door nine: A fossil fish is for life, not just for Christmas*

  1. Pingback: Door 24: A christmas letter from the geoadvent blog team | Geological Society of London blog

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