m of Natural History
Department of Paleobiology
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
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HISTORICAL ART GALLERY
Highlights from the Department of Paleobiology


Life restoration of Archaeopteris Skeletal recontruction of Basilosaurus Brachiopods Skeletal reconstruction of Ceratosaurus Life restoration of Diplodocus
Life restoration of Triceratops Marrella Meniscotherium skulls Ostrocodes Life restoration of Psilophyton
Life restoration of pteranodon Mollusks Skeletal reconstruction of Stegosaurus Triceratops skull Whale skull

Historical Art
The study of paleontology at the Smithsonian Institution has yielded a great deal of artwork. Each illustration, beautiful in its own right, has a fascinating story to tell about the history of paleontology, the history of paleontological illustration, the history of printing techniques, and the history of art. Fossils are often fragmentary and never show the animal, plant or environment as it appeared in life. Additionally, artifacts of age often obscure important diagnositic features of fossil specimens. Therefore, illustration will always be important to portray ideas that cannot be photographed.

The historical art project in the Department of Paleobiology is in progress under the supervision of Mary Parrish, scientific illustrator, and Jann Thompson, deputy chair and collections manager. This is a grassroots project that has been completed mainly through the efforts of volunteers and student interns. Sarah Pelot, a long time volunteer turned contractor, has done most of the hands on work to care for the collection and much research on the collection.

Most illustrations were found without documentation. Research is ongoing to learn the identity of illustrations, the publication they appeared in (if any), artist, scientist, and other information of interest.

We are presenting a sample of some of the material and invite you to contribute your knowledge if you are familiar with this work. The website will be upgraded periodically.

Partial list of historical illustrations

Vertebrate Paleontology
Othniel Charles Marsh illustrations

This collection comprises approximately 1250 ink wash drawings of skulls and post-cranial material, reconstructed skeletons, preliminary work sketches, and lithographs of dinosaurs, birds, and mammals prepared under the direction of Othniel Charles Marsh. Mostly post-cranial material. The beautiful finished ink wash illustrations were copied by printers in preparation for printing as lithographs and by other methods. Approximately 20 skeletal reconstructions.
Highlights: What we believe to be the first skeletal restorations of many dinosaurs including Stegosaurus ungulatus (approx. 6 feet wide), skulls of Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Diplodocus, Ceratosaurus and other dinosaurs and fossil mammals (personal communication, Nicholas Hotton, Robert Purdy, Michael Brett-Surman, Matt Carrano). Accompanying work sketches and lithographic transfer drawings. Notes about the printing processes. Additional Marsh illustrations are housed in the SI Archives.

David Starr Jordan with Leonhard Stejneger and Frederic Lucas
34 illustrations and maps prepared for the Report of the Fur-Seal Investigations, 1896-1897.
Highlights: 11 pen and ink illustrations of fur seals drawn from nature by field artist Bristow Adams.

Charles W. Gilmore
346 illustrations of dinosaurs and fossil reptiles
Highlignts: pen and ink illustrations of our holotype specimen of Stegosaurus stenops. Gilmore sculptures including Triceratops and Stegosaurus.

Remington Kellogg
338 illustrations of fossil marine mammals. Mostly pen and ink illustrations by Sydney Prentice.

James W. Gidley
1 pen and ink illustration of our skeletal mount of Basilosaurus.

Louis Agassiz
200 lithographic unbound prints of fossil fish prepared for Louis Agassiz (1807-1873). (Agassiz was appointed regent of the Smithsonian Institution in 1863).

Charles R. Knight
2 oil paintings: Brontotherium and Triceratops

Oliver Perry Hay
illustrations of turtles
1 life restoration of Diplodocus with crocodilian stance

Samuel P. Langley
1 B&W oil painting of Pteranodon by Robert Child commissioned by Smithsonian secretary Samuel P. Langley.

Jay Matternes
183 black and white 1:1 photocopies of preliminary sketches used in preparing the Eocene, Oligocene and Miocene murals on exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History. These include life restorations, skeletal and muscular restorations and idea sketches for the mural. The murals were prepared in the mid 20th century.

Zdenek Burian
12 poster-size reproductions of ancient environments.

Invertebrate Paleontology
Lawrence B. Isham
129 pen and ink restorations of Burgess Shale fauna and flora (60 are final drawings, 69 are work sketches).

Charles D. Walcott
Original plates for Walcott publications including illustrations from the Burgess Shale monograph, illustrations from other monographs describing trilobites and other paleozoic invertebrates, and rough sketches by Walcott with notes.

Paleobotany
13 illustrations prepared by Francis Hueber and Elfried Abbe.

Partial illustration inventory
1–60 L. Isham life restorations of Burgess Shale material.
61-129 Rough sketches for above
130–247 Illustrations for C.W. Gilmore
248-581 Illustrations for R. Kellogg
582-588 Illustrations of fur seal anatomy for D.S. Jordan
589-594 Illustrations for R. Kellogg
595-620 Tracks and trails (with Walcott material)
621-683 Mixed Gilmore, Marsh, Matternes
684-755 Matternes sketches for Eocene mural (reproductions)
756-828 Matternes, sketches for Oligocene mural (reproductions)
829-866 Matternes, sketches for Miocene mural (reproductions)
867-880 Illustrations by F. Hueber, Elfriede Abbe and Leo Lequereux (paleobotany)
881-897 Maps (proofs?archival originals?) for Fur Seal report (vol. 4) by Stejneger
898 Hay reconstruction of Diplodocus with crocodilian stance
899 Gleeson illustration for Lucas (Lucas standing by Brontosaurus leg)
900-906 illustrations for von Huene
907 Life restoration of Hesperornis by Gleeson (archival original?)
908 Skeletal restoration of Hesperornis
909 Life restoration of Mosasaurus (archival original?)
910-913 Skull and bone maps of Stegosaurus, 1 Diplodocus by Prentice for C. Gilmore
916 Uniden. sketch in Gilmore drawer
917-925 Diictodon (for Hotton)
926-927 Life restoration of Procamelus by J. Matternes
928 Polar Bear, Walrus, Seal (on wood) by Henry W. Elliot
929-1001 Finished drawings and rough sketches O.C. Marsh fossil mammals
1002 – 1013 Bristow Adams (David Starr Jordan ) fur seal illustrations
1014 Fur Seal anatomy for Jordan fur seal report
1015 Skeletal restoration of Basilosaurus for Gidley (SI mount, original publication)
1016-1043 Illustrations for O.C. Marsh
1044 Gleeson illustration of modern lizard, Moloch horridus
1045 Unident. drawing in Gilmore drawer
1046 illustration of alligator limb for O.C. Marsh (?)
1047 Gilmore unident.
1048 Map of Canon City , CO
1049 Map of Canon City , CO dinosaur quarry map
1050-1055 illustrations of Atlantosaurus for O.C. Marsh
1056-1067 illustrations of Allosaurus for O.C. Marsh
1068-1076 Illustrations of Atlantosaurus for O.C. Marsh
1078-1107 Illustrations of Apatosaurus for O.C. Marsh
1108 Illustration of Atlantosaurus for O.C. Marsh
1109-1113 Illustrations of Apatosaurus for O.C. Marsh
1114 Illustration of Atlantosaurus for O.C. Marsh
1115-1134 Illustrations of Apatosaurus for O.C. Marsh
1135-1375 Illustrations of Brontosaurus for O.C. Marsh (1375 lifesize vertebra)
1376-1432 Illustrations of Ceratosaurus for O.C. Marsh
1433-1509 Illustrations of ceratopsians for O.C. Marsh
1510-1510 Illustrations of Ceratosaurus for O.C. Marsh
1512-1518 Illustrations of Compsognathus for O.C. Marsh
1519-1592 Illustrations of Diplodocus for O.C. Marsh
1593-1743 Illustrations of Triceratops for O.C. Marsh (some ?re: dino ids)
1744-1748 Illustrations of Labrosaurus for O.C. Marsh
1749-2061 Illustrations of Morosaurus for O.C. Marsh
2062-2074 Illustrations of Pleurocoelus for O.C. Marsh
2075-2104 Illustrations of misc. sauropods for O.C. Marsh
2105-2107 Letters and envelopes re: sauropod plates
2108-2110 Illustrations of Brontosaurus for O.C. Marsh
2111-2148 Illustrations of misc. theropods for O.C. Marsh
2149 Illustration of Apatosaurus vertebra (oversize)
2150-2155 Dinosaurs for O.C. Marsh (oversize)
2156-2176 Dinosaurs for C. Gilmore
2177-2208 Birds and unident. for O.C. Marsh
2209 Unident
2210 Iguanodon (unident)
2211 Stegosaurus skull for O.C. Marsh
2212 Portrait of Nicolas Hotton by Phelan
2213 Camarasaurus exhibit sketch
2214 Ink wash illustration of Stegosaurus life restoration by G.E. Roberts
2215-2217 Fish illustrations for Deaton
2218-2275 Misc. illustrations for O.C. Marsh ( ?)
2276 Print of Charles R. Knight drawing
2277 Original oil painting of Brontotherium in landscape by C.R. Knight
2278-2281 Stegosaurus for O.C. Marsh
2282-2341 Misc. illustrations for C. Gilmore
2342-2345 Large reproductions of Gleeson/Knight illustrations
2346 Elotheruim crassum full skeletal reconstruction for O.C. Marsh
2347 Original B&W oil painting of Pteranodon in environment by Child for Langley
2348-2420 Fossil lizards for C. Gilmore
2421-2431Fossil fish for C.R. Eastman
2432-2436 (batch inventory total 200) unbound lithographs of fossil fish for Agassiz
2347-2441 Gap in numbering (missing inventory sheets?)
2442-2449 Misc. lithographic prints in folder labeled “Leidy”
2450-2456 Misc. illustrations (mixed lithographs and other)
2457-2512 Drawings of turtles (Marsh and Hay)
2513-2525 Large prints of color paintings by Zdenek Burian
2526-2529 Carboniferous fish by Baldwin
2530 Braincase for O.C. Marsh

A large number of Marsh quarry maps have been rehoused but not inventoried.


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