Fish have inspired artists for thousands of years. They are present in the work of many Dutch and Flemish old masters, as well as French, English and American painters. Yet until now the social and cultural significance of the artistic representation of fish has been overlooked. In "Fish in Art", Christine E. Jackson surveys a large number of paintings from 2000BC to the present day, examining the evolution of fish representation, as well as its preparation, cooking, eating and storage, and fish-specific kitchen- and tableware.
Jackson also explores a diverse range of social and historical issues that have engaged artists, including religious decrees on when to eat fish, the legacies of 'cod wars', and the rise and fall of particular ports. Considering elements such as the ethics of catching fish alongside wider industrial changes in the canning, ice, and salt industries, "Fish in Art" is attentive to the relative importance of species to different nations.
Offering a study of fish in art that is grounded in the physical conditions of fishing and the fish trade, the book will be of interest to fishermen, natural historians and art students alike. "Fish in Art" provides an original and unique perspective on the artistic legacy of fish and the fishing industry.
Christine E. Jackson is a Fellow of the Linnean Society, and a committee member of The Society for the History of Natural History for which she was awarded The Founders' Medal in 1996. Her previous publications include "Peacock" (Reaktion, 2006) and "Great Bird Paintings of the World" (Vols I & II).