London: Reaktion Books, 2011. Octavo, paperback, colour and black and white photographs, colour and black and white illustrations.
The mysterious world beneath the ocean's surface has captivated man for centuries - the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and ancient Chinese all kept fish in their homes for purposes other than the culinary. But it was not until the nineteenth-century invention of the aquarium that the deep was truly domesticated, offering the curiously inclined a chance to invent their very own exotic sea world under their own roof. In this fascinating history of the aquarium, Bernd Brunner traces the development of this most wonderful invention, giving insight into the cultural and social circumstances that accompanied its swift rise in popularity. Brunner tells a compelling story of obsession, beauty, discovery and delight, from the aquarium's humble origins as a tool for scientific observation to the Victorian era's elaborately decorated containers of oceanic curiosity, to the great public aquaria of the twentieth century. At the end he raises questions about the ethics of maintaining marine aquaria in the light of ecological concerns.
Price: $55.00 AU