The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, a series of thirty-seven incredible sculptures of prehistoric animals and geological displays, were unveiled to the public as part of the famous Crystal Palace Park in 1854. The display, which includes iconic depictions of rhinoceros-like dinosaurs, regal extinct mammals, serpentine marine reptiles and giant, frog-like amphibians, captured a snapshot of palaeontology from a golden era of scientific discovery in the mid-nineteenth century. Today, they are internationally recognized as a milestone in our portrayals of extinct life. The Art and Science of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs celebrates these classic scientific artworks and explores: their history, their conception as a wider part of the Crystal Palace project, their execution using unorthodox building materials, their reception by nineteenth-century and modern critics, and their enduring mysteries. Hundreds of historic and modern photos and original paintings show modern scientific visions of the extinct animals restored. Written in collaboration with and in support of the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs charity, this superb book gives the most detailed and complete history of these world-famous sculptures yet, reinforcing their status as masterworks of education and palaeoartistry.
Mark P. Witton is a leading palaeontological artist, author and researcher at the University of Portsmouth, UK. He has produced artwork for museums and universities worldwide, including Natural History Museum, London, and American Museum of Natural History, and acted as a consultant for documentaries and films, including the Walking with Dinosaurs franchise. He has written numerous books on palaeontology and palaeoart, including The Palaeoartist’s Handbook and Recreating an Age of Reptiles for Crowood. After learning about Crystal Palace Dinosaurs as a child, he is thrilled to have made this contribution to the scholarship of this important, unique site.
Ellinor Michel is an evolutionary biologist, ecologist and taxonomist at the Natural History Museum, London. Her work extends to palaeoclimates and scientific nomenclature. It was her interest in the history and philosophy of science that led her to co-found and chair the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs. The dinosaurs have been a gateway to the wondrous ideas of deep time and to teaching us how scientific ideas come to life since 1854, she hopes this book will continue to bring those important messages to many generations of curious minds.