Bowhead whale and whalers, 19th century

Bowhead whale and whalers, 19th century

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Caption: Bowhead whale and whalers. 19th-century illustration of a Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) upsetting a boat of whalers who are attempting to harpoon and kill it. This whale is also known as the Greenland whale. Whales were hunted for their oil and blubber (fat layer), which was used to make soaps, cosmetics and other commercial products. This hand-coloured engraving is plate 4 of the 'Whales' volume of the Mammalia section of British naturalist William Jardine's multi-volume encylopedia 'The Naturalist's Library', with this volume published in the period 1833-1843. The engraving is based on a drawing by British artist James Hope Stewart (1789-1856).

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