S. M. (Sophia) Hendrikx, MA

  • PhD student
  • History of ichthyology
  • The use of illustrations in ichthyological works 1550-1900

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2052
E-Mail: s.m.hendrikx@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Centre for the Arts in Society, Franse L&C
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
van Wijkplaats 2
2311 BX Leiden
Room number 2.03c

Fields of interest

History of natural history (including medicine) and of ichthyology, book history, the use of illustrations in relation to text in zoological and ichthyological publications, and the exchange of knowledge, specifically in and of the early modern period.


My PhD is part of the ‘A New History of Fishes. A long-term approach to fishes in science and culture, 1550-1880’ project (directed by Professor Paul J. Smith), which focuses on the development of ichthyology as a scientific discipline, how it took shape as a field of expert knowledge, and the role of ichthyology in zoology from 1550. Within this larger project my research concentrates on 16th-century ichthyology and takes Gessner’s Historia piscium (1558) as its point of focus. On the one hand I consider the question how Gessner’s ichthyological work relates to his own work on other types of animals, and on the other how Gessner’s work relates to that of other sixteenth century ichthyologists. This includes well-known authors such as Pierre Belon, Hippolito Salviani, and Guillaume Rondelet, as well as lesser-known authors and scholars such as Gregor Mangolt and Johann Kentmann. The focus lies specifically on Gessner’s discussion of a number of types of fishes, including Clupeidae (clupeids); Salmonidae (salmonids); Percidae (percids); Raia (rays, skates); Carcharhiniformes and Squaliformes (sharks); as well as Cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). In this context Gessner’s discussion of habitat and morphology, the use of fish as medicine and food, his organisation of species, methods of information gathering and sources of information, and to a lesser extent the lists of names in different languages he includes for each species, his observations on the behaviour of species, and his descriptions of the symbolism attached to fishes are considered.

Supervisors: Prof.dr. P.J. (Paul) Smith and Prof.dr. K.A.E. (Karl) Enenkel

Teaching activities

I teach a yearly workshop on the use of illustrations in zoological publications from 1550 to 1900.

Curriculum vitae

2015-current: PhD researcher at Leiden University

2011-2015: Rare book specialist at Rare Fish Books, Amsterdam, www.rarefishbooks.com

2005-2010: several positions at rare book dealers and libraries in the Netherlands and the UK

2004-2005: MA History of the Dutch Golden Age. University College London

Key publication

Identification of herring species in Conrad Gessner's ichthyological works, a case study on taxonomy, nomenclature, and animal depiction in the sixteenth century. In: Paul J. Smith and Karl A.E. Enenkel (Eds.), Zoology in Early Modern Culture. Intersections of Science, Theology, Philology and Political and Religious Education, Leiden: Brill, 2014

Last Modified: 10-12-2015