These are genuine antique prints of fish by Jonathan Couch (1789 - 1870).
Couch was born in 1789 in Polperro in Cornwall and died there in 1870. By profession he was a doctor, but it has to be said he was fascinated by more or less everythng! He wrote numerous articles for scientific, medical and historical journals.
However, his most notable work was the first ever featuring colour plates of fish found in British waters "A History of the Fishes of the British Islands". The illustrations were hand coloured engravings made from his own paintings of recently caught fish.
Why had it taken to this point in history to document British fish? Think about the implications of that for a moment! The answer is there are a lot of species and to illustrate a fish one needs to see fish fresh, as the colours fade rapidly.
So, this meant Couch had to spend many hours at fishing docks, awaiting the unloading of fish, keeping his eyes peeled any he did not recognise and speedily record the freshest possible colours of the fish. He must have dreamed of fish.
His hand coloured engravings are excellent and are a testimony to his hard work and artistic skill.