Inventors are inspirational. Jeanne Villepreux-Power was an inventor, dressmaker, author, and marine biologist. In her day, she became well-known for making the wedding gown of Princess Caroline for her wedding to Charles-Ferdinand de Bourbon. Today, she is probably best known as the inventor of the aquarium.
Jeanne Villepreux was born on September 25, 1794 in Juillac, France. When she was 18, she moved to Paris to become a dressmaker. In 1816, she created the wedding dress that brought her fame. She, also, met her future husband, the English merchant, James Power. The couple moved to Messina, Sicily in 1818. She studied natural history, wrote about the island’s flora and fauna, and used an aquarium to make observations and do experiments on marine and terrestrial animals. From 1832 until 1843, Jeanne studied Argonauta argo. Her work proved these paper nautilus produce their own shell. She, also, invented two other aquarium designs: a glass apparatus in a cage for shallow depths and a cage-like aquarium capable of being lowered to different depths.
In 1839, Jeanne published Physical Observations and Experiments on Several Marine and Terrestrial Animals. In 1842, she published Guide to Sicily. She and her husband then moved to residences in London and Paris. There she belonged to well over a dozen academies. In 1858, she was named the mother of aquariophily.
Jeanne Villepreux-Power died in 1871 in Juillac, France. In 1997, “Villepreux-Power” became the name of a crater on Venus. In 2008, a biographical song about Jeanne Villepreux was released. Be inspired! Have a bright day!