Within the late 1860s, artist, “newbie” zoologist, and maker Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez constructed a private submersible so he might draw the otherworldly scenes he noticed underneath the ocean. (Did he truly see that cranium on the ocean flooring? Or is it, as my brother Bob suggests, a memento mori?) From the Public Domain Review:
Measuring three ft excessive by two and half broad and deep, this submersible, of sheet iron and inch-thick glass, had the consumer’s legs protruding of the underside in order that he might propel himself alongside the seabed at a depth of 5 meters or so. It was weighed down by cannonballs, and with air pumped in, the diving bell allowed him to descend for periods of as much as three hours. Jovanovic-Kruspel et al in 2017 level out that “The sight of a lifeless canine floating on the floor close by was a really welcome sight to Ransonnet because it proved to him that there have been no sharks to be feared.”
Undisturbed, and drawing with a soft pencil on greenish-coloured, varnished paper, Ransonnet could use a tin box to send up to the surface his finished pictures, which he later painted over in oils: the first depictions of the seascape executed by an artist under the sea.