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 piracy for the not unsubstantial sum of £100 by Charles Roworth author of Art of Defence with the Broad Sword.
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 most accomplished 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 brutal death in 1832 at the hands of the young printer James Cook, the last man in England to be exhibited in a gibbet.
The Encyclopaedia londinensisis provides an eloquent visual presentation of the history and most recent developments in the Arts and Sciences, 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.
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.
Papilio: Heliconii, Parnassii and Danai (Second, Third and Fourth Division). Twelve examples.
Pangolin (Manis): Short tailed and longtailed Pangolin (scaly anteater) with skeleton of a mammoth Pangolin. Engraved by John Pass.
Zebra (Equus): Male Zebra. 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.
Fluor. Five examples of Fluor from the Poldice mine in Gwenaap. Engraved by John Pass.
Helminthology: Testaceous. Cardium echinata (1-3) and Buccium udatum (11) with other univalves and bivalves.
Whales (Physeter): Round Headed and Blunt headed Sperm whale (Cachelot). 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
Nectarine and Almond: Orange Nectarine, Sweet Almond and Creeping Almond.
Ray: Devil Ray, Guitarfish, Thornback and Electric Ray. Engraved by John Pass.
Lantern Fly (Fulgora): With the Planthopper (Fulgora diadema), Asian lantern bug (Fulgora candelaria) and a Fuchia plant.
Locusts (Gryllus): G. foliaceus, Acrydium, G bipunctatus, G fabulatus, G. opacus. 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.
Camel: Bactrian Camel. Engraved by John Chapman.
Penguin (Aptenodytes): Patagonian Penguin and Magellanic Penguin. After George Edwards. Engraved by John Pass.
Watermelon: With Acharia Moth (Acharia ophelians, caterpillar, chrysalis and pupa. After Maria Sybilla Merian. Engraved by John Pass.
Helminthology: Zoophytes. Spongia ossiformis (7) and Tubularia magnifica (8) with other corals.
Crab: Soldier Crab, Hermit Crab and Land Crab.
Volutes: Cones. The Cedo Null with Imperial Crowns with Admiral shells. After Albertus Seba, engraved by John Pass.
Warbler (Motacilla): African Warbler with nest.
Morels: Esculent Morel, Stinking Morel with Sea Canary Grass.
Wrasse (Labrus): Red Wrasse and Green Wrasse. After Marcus Bloch. 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.
Carissa Carandas (Christ’s Thorn): With 10 Species of Cantharis (Soldier Beetle).