Tuesday, 30 November 2021


Paleontology — A lovely faded lithograph from A History Of The Earth And Animated Nature By Oliver Gold Smith.

I love the old lithographs. They transport me back in time to the beginnings of the study of the various realms of nature. 

Lithography was invented around 1796 in Germany by an otherwise unknown Bavarian playwright, Alois Senefelder, who accidentally discovered that he could duplicate his scripts by writing them in greasy crayon on slabs of limestone and then printing them with rolled-on ink.

A History of the Earth and Animated Nature was printed in the traditional method used by Senefelder. It is a fascinating work of natural history. It was first published in 1774 in eight volumes, these volumes brought together a history of the earth with a description of its many weird and wonderful species and geographical features. 

Oliver Gold Smith was an Irish novelist, poet and journalist as well as the author of many works on natural history. He is now best known for his 1766 novel, The Vicar of Wakefield., a widely read 18th-century novel sharing the life and woes of Dr. Charles Primrose. Oliver Gold Smith spelt the title of his work, Paleontology, though the British spelling is Palaeontology — hence our Canadian use of the same.