'The aquarium is a microcosm of the sea, a bit of the ocean scooped up into our living rooms. Bernd Brunner's slim but fascinating and beautifully illustrated book sets out to explore the history of this phenomenon, which he memorably describes as "Noah's ark in reverse". In the process, Brunner, a German writer of measured, slyly humorous tones, reveals much about how we relate to our greater environment.' --- Daily Telegraph
`A fascinating book.' --- San Francisco Chronicle
`[Brunner's] cultured but unpretentious style carries with it a real sense of the Victorian drawing room, an impression reinforced by the wealth of contemporary engravings he has chosen to illustrate his text.' --- Times Literary Supplement
`This is a truly fascinating and most charmingly illustrated history of the aquarium'
--- Juliet Clutton-Brock, Anthrozoös
The mysterious world beneath the ocean’s surface and its inhabitants have captivated humanity for centuries – the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and ancient Chinese all kept fish in their homes to observe and admire. But it was not until the nineteenth-century invention of the aquarium that the deep was truly domesticated, offering the curious a chance to create an indoor exotic sea world in miniature.This compelling story of obsession, discovery and delight shows how aquariums have gone from being tools for scientific observation, to the Victorian era’s elaborately decorated containers of curiosity, to the great public aquariums that are popular in cities around the world today. Along the way, Bernd Brunner provides insight into the cultural and social circumstances that accompanied the aquarium’s swift rise in popularity.The Ocean at Home offers a colourful look at how a Victorian obsession still enchants many worldwide. Both the owner of a humble goldfish bowl and the dazzled spectator at a major public aquarium will find this an appealing and knowledgeable guide to the aquatic worlds we create.