This is an example of a fossilized Plesiosaur, believed by many to be the sea-serpent. Hawkins was a geologist and dealer in fossils, and his book is an account of his collection, which was initially deposited in the British Museum. Hawkins’s volume is a scholarly tome, but its title, The Book of the Great Sea-Dragons, sensationalizes its subject and invites the reader to connect paleontology with the romance of the imaged monsters of the sea. George Scharf’s studies are themselves exquisite pieces of draughtsmanship. Lithograph. 3¾ x 7½ inches. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Photograph and text by Simon Cooke. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.

Related Material


Hawkins, Thomas. The Book of the Great Sea-Dragons, with lithographic studies by George Scharf. London: Pickering, 1840.

Created 6 July 2021