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Engraving of a 'Proteo-saurus', 1819


Engraving of 'Proteo-saurus', an ichthyosaur from Lyme Regis, by James Basire after drawing by William Clift, 1819.

This engraving of a Proteosaurus, renamed Ichthyosaurus in 1817, was made for the follow up paper to Everard Home’s original notice of this new creature which again was read before the Royal Society in 1819. As was common at the time, only the owners/purchasers of the fossils are mentioned. However this skeleton, which at the time was the most complete yet found, belonged to Lt-Col Thomas James Birch who almost certainly acquired it from Mary Anning in 1818.  

The actual specimen, along with Birch's entire collection, was sold in aid of Anning and her family in 1820. The skeleton was purchased by the Royal College of Surgeons for the sum of £100, however it was destroyed in an air raid in May 1941.