Wallace Collection learning resources

Finding facts and figures

Explore some of the items in the Wallace collection, then answer the questions below each link.

Skills practice: research and analysis

WP1/3/24: Wallace is shipwrecked and loses his collections

This letter, dated September 1852, is from Wallace to botanist Richard Spruce. It describes the burning and sinking of his ship near Brazil, the loss of his collections and his subsequent rescue.

  1. When was Wallace shipwrecked?
  2. How many years’ worth of collections did Wallace lose in the disaster?
  3. Wallace had an agent in London who sold his collections for him. For how much money did he insure part of Wallace’s collections? (Hint: read the last page).
  4. Find one piece of evidence that shows Wallace’s feelings about the sinking of his ship and the loss of his animal collections.
  5. In Wallace’s situation, how would you feel? Give a reason.