Philip Henry Gosse’s detailed watercolors of Alabama’s native insects and plants represent a landmark in the annals of American natural history. Offered for the first time are the complete full-color illustrations from Gosse’s Entomologia Alabamensis, along with a biographical essay placing Gosse’s work in the context of his long and fruitful life.
Born in 1810 in Worcester, England, the young Philip Henry Gosse developed a passion for the natural world. Having learned the basics of miniature portraiture from his father, Gosse quickly took for his artistic subjects the flourishing marine life he discovered along the English coast. In May, 1838, Gosse took a teaching job in Dallas County, Alabama. For the next eight months he collected the insect specimens that he would preserve in the beautifully detailed watercolors of Entomologia Alabamensis. In addition, he composed a highly personalized chronology of his life in a frontier culture, published eventually as Letters from Alabama. Following his return to England, Gosse went on to publish more than 40 books, producing some of the 19th century’s finest illustrations of insects and marine organisms. Today, he is remembered as a popular writer of science for the general public and as a passionate artist whose work in Alabama and elsewhere captured and revealed the beauty and vitality of the natural world.
Copublication with the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art and Auburn University Libraries.