The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins

by Barbara Kerley and Brian Selznick

Waterhouse Hawkins was a British artist who was fascinated by dinosaurs. In the mid–19th... read more

Waterhouse Hawkins was a British artist who was fascinated by dinosaurs. In the mid–19th century, no one had figured out what dinosaurs actually looked like. Hawkins wanted to change that. His passion was to make these prehistoric creatures come to life, at least in the public imagination. With a scientist as an advisor, he sculpted a small clay model, then a life-size one. Then he constructed the final life-size creation with a skeleton of iron and a “skin” of brick, tiles, and broken stones. His dinosaurs went on display at the Crystal Palace in London to great acclaim, and Hawkins was invited to create something similar for a new museum in New York’s Central Park. City politics and vandals ultimately crushed that endeavor. Still, Hawkins created life-size skeletons and paintings of dinosaurs that awed Americans in other institutions, including the Smithsonian Museum. Barbara Kerley and Brian Selznick have teamed to create a vivid, fascinating profile of a unique individual and his singular work. Both the author and the artist have provided an extensive note on their research. (Ages 9–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2002

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