On a late 19th century expedition around the world to discover species new to science, the young Doctor Sophia Shallowgrave was one of the first Europeans to observe dragons of the Far East in their natural habitat. Local natural philosophers supplied much of the information she included in her lively reports.
Of the Greater Chinese Fire Dragon, or Draco ignis, she writes, “The specimen depicted is a rather young mature adult male. My guide tells me this variety of dragon is deep blue when first hatched, and becomes more ruddy-coloured as it ages, beginning first with the tips of its wings and other appendages. At their prime they are fiery red and then turn more to orange and yellow as they grow older. By extreme old age, these dragons are almost white.”