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Artists in the Spotlight: Philip Henry Gosse
Portrait von Philip Henry Gosse Philip Henry Gosse combined his passion for natural history with his education and talent in drawing. With his depictions of flora and fauna and his natural history studies, Gosse became one of the most popular representatives of biology in Victorian England. His talent to interest broad readership in science topics led to enormous circulation numbers, so that he profited from their royalties throughout his life. In 1854 Gosse published a guide to the construction of seawater aquariums, which triggered a veritable aquarium hysteria in broad layers. In the years that followed, the wealthy Victorian bourgeoisie became fashionable for having a seawater aquarium in the house. Gosse is therefore considered the founder of marine aquaristics and a pioneer of marine biology. Natural history inspired the masses with their studies and discoveries of foreign cultures and ecosystems. The 19th century was also the time of the great scientific expeditions. These combined qualitative research with the adventurism of the great explorers. The explorers served the needs of large populations for exotic and distant worlds and became heroes. Gosse began his career as an employee in an office in Newfoundland. Gosse was the first researcher to study the entomology of Newfoundland and make systematic studies and documentary drawings. As a tutor, he continued his insect studies in Alabama / USA. There he also came into contact with the slave system of the southern states on the cotton plantations. In his letters from Alabama he strongly condemned slavery for religious reasons. This employment was followed by a one and a half year research stay in Jamaica. Back in England, he discovered his theme, the marine world, which is accessible everywhere on the island, but was largely unknown and unexplored. Natural history was in the center of social controversy in the 19th century. The new findings were in contradiction to religious ideas of the time. Gosse's contemporary and colleague Charles Darwin shook his work on the origin of species and the evolutionary theory developed therein, the foundation of faith of the time. But unlike Darwin, the scientific work at Gosse did not trigger a religious conflict. Gosse converted early to a Methodist and fundamentalist faith flow. Already in Newfoundland, he unsuccessfully attempted to found a religious community. In addition to natural history, religious fundamentalism remained the second constant of his life. In addition to the natural history drawings and representations and his achievements in aquaristics, Gosse remained present for posterity above all through one aspect: through an epic father-son conflict. His son, the writer Edmund Gosse, published a biography of his father, in which he portrayed gutter as a despot and fundamentalist freak. Gosse himself contributed to this picture when he "exposed" fossil finds in a religious polemic as a deliberate deception of God to an anti-religious society.

The Gem Pimplet, the Glaucus Pimplet and the Red Speckled Pimplet, plate IV from Actinologia Britannica: A History of the British Sea Anemones and Corals, 1860 (chromolitho) Chrysaora Hysoscella, Ilfracombe, 1856: Compass Jellyfish (pencil and wc on paper) The Crimson Imperial, the Yellow Imperial and the Globehorn, plate IX from Actinologia Britannica: A History of the British Sea Anemones and Corals, 1860 (chromolitho) Snake Locked Anemones, plate III from Actinologia Britannica: A History of the British Sea Anemones and Corals, 1860 (chromolitho) Echinoderms (chalk on paper) Spiny Spider Crab (paper collage on paper) Devonshire cup coral (pastel on paper) Dead mans fingers (pastel on paper) Anemones and stalked jellyfish (pastel on paper) Young Sea Urchin (Larvae Echinus) (white gouache on paper) Botryllus Schlosseri: Star Ascidian (paper collage on paper) Purpura Lapillus: Dog Whelk (paper collage on paper) Spotted Cowrie (paper collage on paper) Periwinkle: Topshell (paper collage on paper) Plumose Anemone (paper collage on paper) Plate IV, study for Actinologia Britannica: A History of the British Sea Anemones and Corals, c.1858-60 (graphite, wc and gouache on paper) Plate VI, study for Actinologia Britannica: A History of the British Sea Anemones and Corals, c.1858-60 (graphite, wc and gouache on paper) Plate II, study for Actinologia Britannica: A History of the British Sea Anemones and Corals, c.1858-60 (graphite, wc and gouache on paper) Plate III, study for Actinologia Britannica: A History of the British Sea Anemones and Corals, c.1858-60 (graphite, wc and gouache on paper) Plate I, study for Actinologia Britannica: A History of the British Sea Anemones and Corals, c.1858-60 (graphite, wc and gouache on paper) Plate V, study for Actinologia Britannica: A History of the British Sea Anemones and Corals, c.1858-60 (graphite, wc and gouache on paper) Crustacea (pastel on paper)
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