Eels and horses


My internet connection has been down all evening so this interim post arrives via the miracle of mobile-phone dialup. The picture is from JW Buel’s catalogue of animal mayhem, Sea and Land (1887), and shows the alleged practice of fishing for electric eels with horses. If this seems unlikely it’s one of the more plausible scenarios in Buel’s illustrated history of “the wonderful and curious things of nature existing before and since the Deluge”.

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Sea and Land: An Illustrated History

Sea and Land: An Illustrated History


It’s all fun and games until someone gets bitten in twain by a shark. Illustrations from a Flickr selection of plates from Sea and Land: An Illustrated History (1887) by JW Buel, a compendium of stories about the natural world which tend towards the sensational. Many of these pictures are from what I call the “Die you brute!” school of illustration, in which exotic fauna is always on the rampage and needs to be violently subdued before someone is eaten alive (or bitten in twain). Buel’s book reprints pictures from other volumes including Gustave Doré’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner while one of the tentacled fiends below is an oft-reprinted item by Alphonse de Neuville & Edouard Riou from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The only copy of Sea and Land at the Internet Archive is poor quality, unfortunately; being partial to Victorian sensation I wouldn’t mind seeing the whole thing.



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