PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
R. Sands from a drawing by J.P. Neale, published by John Harris for "The Beauties of England and Wales". The Egyptian Hall was built in 1812 by William Bullock in Piccadilly, London, to house his collections which included taxidermy, fossils and ethnographic items brought back by Captain Cook. As a public museum it was a great success drawing in over 220, 000 visitors in 1816. The first Mary Anning specimen of an ichthyosaur were displayed at Bullock's Museum (as well as later more complete specimens belonging to Thomas Birch described by Sir Everard Home in an article of 1819 and named by him Proteosaurus). Bullock's collection was sold in 1819 and Birch's in 1820. The British Museum bought Anning's first ichthyosaur skull and the Royal College of Surgeons bought Birch's more complete specimen - which was destroyed by the bombing of 1941.
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