When Queen Victoria opened the Crystal Palace at Sydenham on 10th June 1854, she also changed the course of popular science. For in the grounds of Sir Joseph Paxton's magnificent glass and iron "Palace of the People" stood a unique experiment. For the first time anywhere in the world, an attempt had been made to create, at life-size, representations of prehistoric "monsters" which had roamed the earth millions of years before man. The impact of the display was immense. For the first time – but not the last – "Dinomania'" gripped the public imagination.
Today these great stone and iron models, one of the few remaining elements of the original design for Crystal Palace Park, survive to represent a unique picture, frozen in time, of the state of palaeontology in mid-Victorian England. Despite their worldwide fame, however, the story of the building of the models and the men behind them has never before been told in full.
The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs details the background to the sculptures, the story of their creation, their immediate impact and lasting influence, as well as providing a comparison between them and modern-day thinking about the appearance in life of those animals featured. This highly readable book has become the standard reference piece on the sculptures and reveals many new and fascinating details about them.
This 2019 reprint has been produced in the same style and format as the original 1994 book but is even more lavishly illustrated. All the images have been rescanned and digitally enhanced and there are more colour pages and well over 200 other illustrations, most of which have never before appeared in print.