by Sophia Kingshill

‘A marvellously bracing compendium, to be swum through, from first page to last.’ Adam Thorpe


Mermaids are blessed with one tail or two, are as happy in freshwater as salt, and boast an ancestry that stretches from the classical world to the present, pre-dating Homer’s sirens and which will outlive the blood-thirsty nymphs of Pirates of the Caribbean.

The mermaid expresses our reliance on the sea for food and trade and draws on our fear and fascination of the unknown depths. From her roots in Assyrian reliefs and her casting in Medieval bestiaries, she has been carved into churches, painted onto pub signs and Pre-Raphaelite canvases, inked into skin, sketched by Picasso, starred in Hollywood movies and in 21st century graffiti, reclaimed as neither vamp nor victim but as a symbol of womanhood and resistance. Few creatures claim this allure or longevity.

Mermaids’ culture spans eras, continents, art forms. This book, the paperback of the sold-out hardback, is the first history to delve into 3,000 years of folklore and myth, celebrating this looming figure of our imaginations.

Paperback, £16, OUT NOW

Illustrated in colour throughout. Cover by Jonny Hannah.


PRE-ORDER — we will ship when in stock


Sophia Kingshill is the co-author of  The Lore of Scotland and The Fabled Coast, and has studied folklore and myth her whole life. She is also a playwright whose work on subjects as varied as Sinbad, William Morris and the Brontës has been performed in Britain and Europe.

Additional information

Weight272 g
Dimensions2.2 × 13.5 × 18.5 mm


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