Anna Thynne

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Anna Thynne
Anna Constantia (née Beresford), Lady Thynne; Selina Thynne; Emily Thynne by Richard James Lane.jpg
Anna Thynne with her daughters Selina and Emily
Anna Constantia Beresford

Walford, Waterford, Ireland[2]
Died22 April 1866
Known formarine zoology
Spouse(s)Lord John Thynne (1798–1881)
Scientific career

Anna Thynne, Lady John Thynne (née Anna Constantia Beresford; 1806–1866) was a British marine zoologist.[1] She built the first stable and sustained marine aquarium in 1846 and maintained corals and sponges for over three years.[3]

She originally studied geology, but in 1846 she encountered her first Madrepore and became enraptured with something that appeared to be a rock, but was a living being.[4] Wanting to take specimens back to London from Torquay, she fixed the Madrepores to a sponge with needle and thread within a stone jar. She then transferred them to a glass bowl, changing the water every other day. Not having enough of a supply to continue to replace the seawater, she then switched to aerating it by transferring the water between vessels in front of an open window. This task was usually undertaken by her servant.[5]

In 1847 she added marine plants to the bowls, and in two years had created the first balanced marina aquarium.[6]

Her work inspired Philp Henry Gosse, who developed the Fish House at London Zoo in 1853.[7]

She was married to Lord John Thynne (1798–1881; as such she was entitled to the style "Lady John Thynne"), a Canon and Sub-Dean of Westminster Abbey, and the third son of Thomas Thynne, 2nd Marquess of Bath.


"On the increase of Madrepores". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. London: Taylor and Francis. 3 (29): 449–461. 1859.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stott, Rebecca, Theatres of Glass: The woman who brought the sea to the city, Short Books, 2003.
  2. ^ "Anne Constantia Thynne (Beresford; c.1800 - 1866)". Geni.[unreliable source?]
  3. ^ William Atford LLoyd (1876). "Aquaria : their Past, Present, and Future". The American Naturalist. Cambridge, MA: The Riverside Press. X: 615. doi:10.1086/271750.
  4. ^ The Annals and Magazine of Natural History: Zoology, Botany, and Geology. Taylor & Francis, Limited. 1859.
  5. ^ Adamowsky, Natascha (6 October 2015). The Mysterious Science of the Sea, 1775–1943. Routledge. ISBN 9781317317203.
  6. ^ Adamowsky, Natascha (6 October 2015). The Mysterious Science of the Sea, 1775–1943. Routledge. ISBN 9781317317203.
  7. ^ "The Fish House at ZSL London Zoo - the first public aquarium". Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Retrieved 29 July 2019.