Many sources mention Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, and some are more useful than others. This list of materials is meant to offer a good start for those wanting to learn a bit more. It’s not meant to be exhaustive.
- Waterhouse Hawkins, Benjamin. 1854. On Visual Education As Applied to Geology, Illustrated By Diagrams and Models of the Geological Restorations at the Crystal Palace. Journal of the Society of Arts 2 (78):443-449. More info.
Transcript of an evening lecture given by Waterhouse Hawkins, the sculptor responsible for the Dinosaurs, at the Royal Society of Arts on Wednesday May 17, 1854, where he discussed creating the famous models.
- Owen, Richard. 1854. Geology and Inhabitants of the Ancient World (London: Euston Grove Press), 48 pages. 2013 facsimile edition. ISBN13: 978-1-906267-36-0 (paperback). More info.
Official guide to the dinosaurs, published by the Crystal Palace Company.
- Mantell, Gideon. 1851. Petrifactions and their teachings, or, A hand-book to the gallery of organic remains of the British Museum.
Think of this as a catalogue for the British Museum in 1851. It’s an excellent guide to the fossil material locally available to Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins during the construction of his statues. Available FREE via Internet Archive.
- Phillips, Samuel. 1856. Guide to the Crystal Palace and Park (London: Euston Grove Press), 205 pages. 2008 Facsimile of 1856 edition. ISBN13: 978-1-906267-09-4 (paperback). More info.
Official guide to the park, with additional notes on the geological illustrations and elements of the geological displays Owen chose not to discuss.
- Leith, Ian. 2013. Delamotte’s Crystal Palace (London: English Heritage), 128p. ISBN10: 1850749493. More info. Also see English Heritage digital library.
Photographs from 1850s by Delamotte of Crystal Palace and the Park. Includes images of the dinosaurs.
- McCarthy, Steven and Michael Gilbert. 1994. Crystal Palace Dinosaurs: The Story of the World’s First Prehistoric Sculptures (London: Crystal Palace Foundation), 100p. ISBN-10: 1897754035. More info.
Best all-purpose guide to the individual species represented by the statues. Includes historical materials on Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and the build-up to the opening of Crystal Palace Park in 1854. Photographs provide excellent view of dinosaurs prior to their restoration in early 21st century. Best to purchase directly from Crystal Palace Foundation.
- Doyle, Peter and Robinson, E. 1993. The Victorian ‘Geological Illustrations’ of Crystal Palace Park. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association 104: 181-194. Link.
Excellent technical research into the geology of the displays: how to the statues fit into sequences of time and into the visual education of geology. Doyle deserves considerable credit for the hard work of reconstruction during a decade of work to restore the site.
- Bramwell, Valerie and Robert M. Peck. 2008. A Biography of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (Philadelphia: Academy of Natural Sciences), 128p. ISBN-10: 0910006652. More info.
Outstanding biography of Waterhouse Hawkins, covering his full life and his range of talents draw from extensive primary research.
- Rudwick, Martin J. S. 1992. Scenes from Deep Time: Early Pictorial Representations of the Prehistoric World (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 294p. ISBN: 9780226731056. More info.
Follow the pictorial history of dinosaurs (and many other antediluvian beasts) before and after Waterhouse Hawkin’s work in this outstanding piece of scholarship. You will see many familiar forms repeated over and again across the decades.
- Patalong, Frank, 2015. Die ersten ihrer Art (In German), 142pp. ISBN-13: 978-3734799006. More info and to order (including donation to FCPD)
A recent, well-presented introduction the the CP Dinos in German. ‘Hawkins Monster Am 10. Juni 1854 eröffnete Queen Victoria ….
Books for children
- Kerley, Barbara and Brian Selznick. 2002. The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins (Scholastic Press), 48p. ISBN-10: 0439114942. More info.
Not a history, but lovely historical fiction and delightful illustrations.
- Coates, Ann. 1970. Dinosaurs Don’t Die (Longman Young Books), 72p. ISBN: 0582157579.
A boy living across the street from the park discovers the dinosaur statues come alive at night. He befriends one of the Iguanodons, and great adventures ensue. They decide to visit the Natural History Museum, travelling through the rail and tube networks. Beautiful illustrations by John V. Lord. Sadly, this book is out-of-print and hard-to-find. There is good detail about it via Wikipedia, and it has a loyal readership.
- Lively, Penelope. 1978. Fanny and the Monsters.
On a visit to Crystal Palace Park, Fanny encounters the dinosaurs and a scientist, to whom she shows great expertise. Later, Fanny saves a new fossil discovery from destruction in a local quarry. Lovely illustrations. Penelope Lively on Wikipedia.
- Nesbit, Edith. 1902. Five Children and It (Unwin).
The creatures in the park are characters in a story about the adventures of five children and a creature from a different time, who has magical powers and a bad temper. A summary of Nesbit’s books related to Crystal Palace Dinosaurs is provided by West (2003: 85-86).