C1789

Watts’s Shark.

Rare First Fleet engraving of the Wobbegong Shark or Spotted Wobbegong. Modern binomial name: Orectobolus maculatus First described: Bonnaterre, 1788 Distribution WA, SA, VIC, NSW & QLD. From Phillip’s, Voyage to Botany Bay Extract from Phillip’s account WATTS’S SHARK. Genus … Read Full Description

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Details

Full Title:

Watts’s Shark.

Date:

C1789

Condition:

In good condition

Technique:

Copper engraving.

Image Size: 

255mm 
x 195mm

Paper Size: 

274mm 
x 210mm
AUTHENTICITY
Watts's Shark. - Antique Print from 1789

Genuine antique
dated:

1789

Description:

Rare First Fleet engraving of the Wobbegong Shark or Spotted Wobbegong.

Modern binomial name: Orectobolus maculatus
First described: Bonnaterre, 1788
Distribution WA, SA, VIC, NSW & QLD.

From Phillip’s, Voyage to Botany Bay

Extract from Phillip’s account WATTS’S SHARK. Genus CXXXI. Squalus.–Lin. Syst.

“This, we believe, is a species which has hitherto escaped the researches of our Icthyologists. The length of the specimen is nineteen inches: the head is broad, and angular in shape but the body rounded, and nearly equal in its dimensions for above half the length, when it suddenly grows very small, and so continues to the end of the tail: the colour of the body is brown in different shades, and there are three rows of large pale spots, of an irregular shape, most of them dark within one row passes down the middle, the others are on each side besides which there are others below them less conspicuous. The mouth is placed nearer the end of the head than in most of the genus, and furnished in the front with nine sharp crooked teeth, in three rows, and a great number of small ones on each side. The eyes project considerably above the rest of the head, and are placed on the upper part of it the space between is hollowed or sunk in: at the most forward part of the head are two cartilaginous appendages, jagged at the end, with four others, nearly similar, on each side between the first and the breathing holes: the pectoral fins are placed beneath these last the abdominal about the middle of the body and the anal, more than half way between the last and the tail besides which, the under part is finned from that place to the end: on the upper part of the body are two fins, both placed uncommonly far back, as in the figure. This fish was met with in Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, by Lieutenant Watts, and is supposed to be full as voracious as any of the genus, in proportion to its size for after having lain on the deck for two hours, seemingly quiet, on Mr. Watts’s dog passing by, the shark sprung upon it with all the ferocity imaginable, and seized it by the leg nor could the dog have disengaged himself had not the people near at hand come to his assistance.”

From Governor Phillips, Voyage to Botany Bay.

References:
Ferguson, J. A. Bibliography of Australia Volumes 1-8, Canberra 1976 47.
Wantrup, J. Australian Rare Books. Sydney 1987 #5. pp.59-64, pp.127-128, p.345-5, ill. p.63.
McCormick, T. First Views of Australia 1788-1825. Sydney 1987.

Collections:
State Library Victoria: RARELTF 994.02 P54V
National Gallery Victoria: Bib ID 1807715
British Library London: Shelfmark: C.47.i.10.
Royal Collection Trust UK: RCIN 1142204

Peter Mazell (1759 - 1797)

Mazell was an Irish painter and engraver, working in London between c. 1761 and 1797. He is known for his fine engravings of natural history subjects, especially those illustrating books by John Walcott and the Welsh naturalist Thomas Pennant. He created almost 600 engravings in his career. He also exhibited paintings of landscapes and of flowers. He exhibited at the Society of Artists and at the Royal Academy.

View other items by Peter Mazell

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