print. coloured lithograph. 'The Whale' / by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, [c1850], Plate XIII from the volume "Graphic Illustrations of Animals, showing their utility to man, in their services during life, and uses after death", J Graf, Printer, published by Roake and Varty, 31 Strand, London. Unsuccesfully fishing for a whale with harpoon with titled vignettes of Sperm [cachelot] Whale fishery; For light - as a guide to mariners [lighthouse using whale oil lamp]; Cutting off the blubber; Commerce - Spermaceti, Ambergris [woman purchasing items in pharmacy]; Manufacture - oil works [from the blubber]; Agriculture - for manure; The Whalebone [from baleen whales - for umbrella spokes and woman's dress frames...]; For Food [Inuit cooking]; For Light - sperm oil and candle [spermaceti, chandelier lamp].
This print, made around 1850, shows the process of hunting and processing a whale, as well as the many different items could be made from whales. For example, it features spermaceti and ambergris, which were two of the most expensive and rare products. Both are found in the sperm whale. Spermaceti is collected from the head of the whale and ambergris is found in the digestive system. They were both used in cosmetics and spermaceti also made very high-quality candles. This print highlights more everyday uses of whale by-products too, such as oil for lamps and manure in agriculture.
This print is taken from a larger collection, printed by Thomas Varty, all about the different ways humans have exploited animals. This particular print was illustrated by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, a natural history painter who was particularly well known for his dinosaur sculptures.
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