London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1872. Small Folio. 24 pages with 24 plates. FIRST EDITION. Original publisher’s gilt-illustrated binding, gilt edges, corners a bit worn, small crack between the paste down and flyleaf; pages very clean and bright, a wonderful copy of this scarce work. Item #17477
First edition of this whimsical book. The author has generously illustrated his wonderful creations and accompanies each with an epic poem. “Our portly ‘Diodon,’ or Porcupine-Fish, stalks along on Rhinoceros limbs, he flourishes a Shark’s Back-Bone as a walking-stick; he is very Crab-Bed about the arms, and stares upward, watching the bursting of volcanic Sky-Rockets in the air.” It is primarily aimed at mocking evolution, poking fun at Darwin who was a close correspondent of Cooke.
“Though the only guest, I was not alone, for my multitudinous sketches of fossils – marine and other animals obtained during long workings with the microscope – from nature, and museum collections, furnished ample materials wherewith to create companions in my solitude” (Cooke).
Cooke (1811-1880) was raised by a family of artists, and was primarily known as a marine and landscape painter. He was a fellow of the geological and zoological societies.