Tortoise by Bell

James de Carle Sowerby (1787-1871)
Radiated Tortoise (Testudo radiata), c.1830.
Watercolour on paper, 265 x 342 mm.

This drawing was first published in A Monograph of the Testudinata (1832-36), which is the earliest and most comprehensive accounts of the tortoises, terrapins and turtles of the world.

Although Thomas Bell was the main author, the book owes its enduring reputation to no less than four people - two artists namely James de Carle Sowerby (1787-1871) and Edward Lear (1812-1888), John Edward Gray (1800-1875) a zoologist at the British Museum and Bell himself.

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