Encyclopaedia londinensis, or,
Universal dictionary of arts, sciences, and literature
Originally from Winchester, John Wilkes was an established London printer, bookseller and publisher, and the proprietor of the Hampshire Chronicle, one of England’s oldest continuing publications. In 1810 Wilkes published the first eight volumes of his Encyclopaedia londinensis with a volume published almost every year thereafter until the twenty fourth and last in 1829. Compiled and arranged by Wilkes much of the information came from other small works not always his own as was often the case with such compendiums, and indeed he was successfully sued for the not unsubstantial sum of £100 by Charles Roworth author of Art of Defence with the Broad Sword for piracy.
Many of the engravings for the Encyclopaedia londinensis were executed by the extremely gifted John Pass, also originally from Winchester. Pass used his own work as well as existing images by some of the finest artists of his time, making amendments where necessary to correlate to the Encyclopaedia. Sadly Pass’s lasting fame came not from his life but rather his death. In 1832 whilst collecting a debt Pass was brutally murdered in the workshop of the young printer James Cook. Cook dismembered the body but having become quite inebriated left the pieces burning in an open grate and went home. The chimney caught fire and neighbours alerted the police; Cook absconded but was later arrested trying to gain passage to America. He was hanged in Leicester; his body was ‘anatomised’ by students, then redressed, placed in a gibbet, and put on display. He was the last man in England to be so exhibited; the crowd became so disorderly and ‘licentious’ that he was immediately buried.
The Encyclopaedia londinensisis provides an eloquent visual presentation of the history and most recent developments in the Arts and Sciences of the time, and serves as an extraordinary record of the talents of Pass and his contemporaries. These particular examples of the Encyclopaedia londinensisis are in fine original hand colour, expertly and lavishly applied with no expense spared, and are without known equal.
Below are a few examples from this collection. Please click on an image to see it in high-resolution with details of the work itself. For the full list of original antique Wilkes engravings available, please do contact us.
Cuttlefish: With eight specimens of Jelly fish. Crustaceans: Cristatus Crab, Paurus Crab and Common Lobster. Engraved by John Pass.
Peacock (Pavo): Common peacock engraved by John Pass.
Camel: Bactrian Camel. Engraved by John Chapman.
A depiction of an Ancient Egyptian planisphere from the ceiling of the Temple of Hathor at Dendera. Characterised as “the only complete map that we have of an ancient sky”.
Pangolin (Manis): Short tailed and longtailed Pangolin (scaly anteater) with skeleton of a mammoth Pangolin. Engraved by John Pass.
Warbler (Motacilla): Pinc Pinc grass warbler with nest.
A smoking party in the Bengal.
Lead. Native lead 1-6, 8, German lead 7, Saxon lead 9, Napolitan lead 10, 11, Lorraine lead 12, Engraved by John Pass.
Buccina: Triton, Wry mouthed, Umbilicated, Plicated, Gullered, Whelks, Thorny Woodcock, Strombus and Pupura.
Pineapple: Sugarloaf pineapple with Brentus and bruchus insects. Engraved by John Pass.
Nautilus: Nautilus, Orthoceros, Croziers, Polythalamus, Cornua Ammonis, and Ammonoides. After George Wolfgang Knorr, engraved by John Pass.
Volutes: 11 Mitres and 6 Papal Crowns. After Albertus Seba, engraved by John Pass.
Locusts (Gryllus): G.bisasciatus, G bimaculatus, G granulatus, G leucostictos, G. griseus, G binotatus and Acheta. Engraved by John Pass.
Sweet and Bell peppers (Capsicum annuum and grossum). With 19 specimens of Carabus beetles.
East Indian Coral (Isis ochracea). After Albertus Seba, engraved by John Pass.
Fly catcher (Musicapa): Crested Fly catcher with nest.
Scorpion (Scorpio): European, Black and Linear Scorpions. Engraved by John Pass.
Fluor. Five examples of Fluor from the Poldice mine in Gwenaap. Engraved by John Pass.
Copper from Hungary1, 2, Cornwall 3, 4, 5, Japan 6, Hepatic copper 7, Black vitrreous ore 8, Bue copper 9 Malachite 10 Copper in quartz 11, Copper pyrites 12, Yellow copper C fulvum
Viper (Coluber): Bushmaster Pit Viper (Lachesis). After Albertus Seba. Engraved by John Pass.
Morels: Esculent Morel, Stinking Morel with Sea Canary Grass.
Butterfly Fish (Chaetodon): The three coloured Chetodon. After Marcus Bloch. Engraved by John Pass.
With details of fruit and ten specimens of fruit flies.
Watermelon: With Acharia Moth (Acharia ophelians, caterpillar, chrysalis and pupa. After Maria Sybilla Merian. Engraved by John Pass.
Warbler (Motacilla): African Warbler with nest.
Gold from Hungary 1, 2, Dentrical silver 3,4,6, Varigated ore 5, Vitreous ore. Engraved by John Pass.
An Omrah, a dancing girl and a lady of the Harem.
Boletus igniarius and Frondosius, Blasia pusilla, Buxbaumia aphylla and Byssus fulva.
An early-19th century depiction of the Ancient Egyptian Zodiac from the ceiling of the Temple of Dendera. Characterized as “the only complete map that we have of an ancient sky”.
Portraits: A prince, princess and Mandarin.
Tin. Spathose Tin 1,2, Wood Tin from Cornwall 3-7. Tooth Tin 8-11, Saxon Tin 12, Garnet Tin 13,, 14, Tin in shorl 15, Crystalised Tin 16, 17. Engraved by John Pass.
Black Coral of India (Isis hippuris).After Albertus Seba, engraved by John Pass.
Star Fish (Asterias): Five specimens. Engraved by John Pass.
Globusae: Persian Crown, Harp, Helmut, Partridge, Butterfly, Fig, Tun, Melon and Prepuce mollusc shells. After Albertus Seba, engraved by John Pass.
Viper (Coluber): Viperine water snake (Natrix). After Albertus Seba, engraved by John Pass.
Ray: Devil Ray, Guitarfish, Thornback and Electric Ray. Engraved by John Pass.
Volutes: Cones. The Cedo Null with Imperial Crowns with Admiral shells. After Albertus Seba, engraved by John Pass.
Argonaut Nautilus, Venus’s ears and 3 Auris Cochleae and three Cylindri. After Albertus Seba, engraved by John Pass.
Warbler (Motacilla): Pinc Pinc grass warbler with nest.
Zebra (Equus): Male Zebra. Engraved by John Pass.
Tarantula (Arachne): Faciata (Barbary) Spider in its web with young and insects. Engraved by John Pass.
Ceremony of washing the goddess Kali and the icon of Lord Jagannath.
Penguin (Aptenodytes): Patagonian Penguin and Magellanic Penguin. After George Edwards. Engraved by John Pass.
Sea Turtles: Hawksbill 5 and Green Sea Turtle 6. with Yellow footed Tortoise 1, European Tortoise 2, Spotted Turtle 3, Painted Turtle 4. Engraved by John Pass.
Lizards (Lacerta): Monitor Lizard (Goanna) Broad tailed Lizard, Great and Common Water Newts with details of larvae. Engraved by John Pass.
delete Sweet and Bell peppers (Capsicum annuum and grossum. With 19 specimens of Carabus beetles.
Boa Constrictor: Red tailed Boa. After Albertus Seba. Engraved by John Pass.
Butterfly Fish (Chaetodon): The Chetodon of Surat. After Marcus Bloch. Engraved by James Pass.
Sea Dragon (S. Foliatus) and Sea horse (S. Hippocampus): With three Pufferfish (Tetradon). Engraved by John Pass.
Insects (Entymology): Orders of Linneas. The Coleopterous male 1, femaile 2, Hemipterous male 3, female 4, with egs and larvae, Lepidopterous 5, 6, eggs 7-9, Neuropterous male 10, female 11, Hymenopterous male12 female 13, Dipterous male 14 , female 15 Apterous female 16, male 17, Engraved by John Pass.
Murices: Cones. A Rock Shell with Aporrhais and Rhombus. After Albertus Seba, engraved by John Pass.
The Triad of Bhrahm, Vishnu and Siva.
Lantern Fly (Fulgora): With the Planthopper (Fulgora diadema), Asian lantern bug (Fulgora candelaria) and a Fuchia plant.
Crocodile (Lacerta): Nile Crocodile with detail of head and jaw of a young crocodile. Engraved by John Pass.
Portraits: Mamaluke cavalryman with infantry soldier and Bedouin Arab soldier.
Carp (Cyprinus): Telescopic and Sickle finned Carp. After Marcus Bloch. Engraved by John Pass
Mount Etna erupting in 1787. Engraved by John Pass.
Crustaceans: Cristatus Crab, Paurus Crab and Common Lobster. Engraved after John Pass.
Locusts (Gryllus): G. foliaceus, Acrydium, G bipunctatus, G fabulatus, G. opacus. Engraved by John Pass.
Incan Empire: Amazon warrior of the Yura maguas, Priestess of the Temple of the sun and a women dressed as the Goddess of war in 1789.
Carissa Carandas (Christ’s Thorn): With 10 Species of Cantharis (Soldier Beetle).
The Incan King and Queen.
Whales (Physeter): Round Headed and Blunt headed Sperm whale (Cachelot). Engraved by John Pass.
Wrasse (Labrus): Red Wrasse and Green Wrasse. After Marcus Bloch. Engraved by John Pass.
Lizards (Lacerta): Chameleon, Geeko and Salamander. Engraved by John Pass.
Nickel, Calamine, Bismuth, Antinomy, Arsenic, Regulus and Wolfram. Engraved by John Pass.
Giraffe (Cervus): Cameleopard. Engraved by John Pass.
1. Fungus infundibuliformis a-c life cycle, 2.- 8 unnamed varieties 9. Puff mushroom.
Indian elephant.Engraved by John Pass.
1. Echinus esculentus, 2. E.. sphera 3. E. draebachiensus 4, E. miliaris 5.E.Batteri, 6. E. hemisphericus, 7. E. angulosus and 8. E. excavatus.
Nectarine and Almond: Orange Nectarine, Sweet Almond and Creeping Almond.
Orte (Cyprinus): Orte and Gold Orte ornamental fish. After Marcus Bloch. Engraved by John Pass.
Mermaids found and exhibited in France in 1758 (1), London in 1775 (2) and London in 1794 (3, 4). Engraved by John Pass.
Aecidium and Agaricus: Aecidium abietinum, elatinum, columnare, viola, and Agaricus scabellus, vitellum, tricolour, porphyria and lepidomyces. Engraved by John Pass.
Common stag and German stag.
Bullae (Pewit’s Egg or Dipper). 12 Dippers, Argus Cowry with 9 Cowries and a Weaver Shuttle. After Albertus Seba, engraved by John Pass.