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Proof illustration of the animals of Borneo

Proof illustration of the animals of Borneo

Catalogue number: WP6/3/1/7

Proof illustration entitled Characteristic Animals of Borneo for Wallace's book The Geographical Distribution of Animals, dated 1876.

This proof illustration of the Characteristic Animals of Borneo was for Wallace's two-volume book published in 1876, called The Geographical Distribution of Animals, with a Study of the Relations of Living and Extinct Faunas and Elucidating the Past Changes of the Earth's Surface.

The illustration, originally drawn by J.B. Zwecker, is on a cardboard mount, labelled by Wallace with the common names of the animals shown. These include mouse deer, tapir, feather-tailed tree shrew, tarsier and a flying lemur. In the published book, the title was changed to A Forest in Borneo with Characteristic Mammals, appearing as Plate IX in volume 1.

Wallace intended The Geographical Distribution of Animals to be accessible to a wide audience. He says in the preface to volume 1 that the book should be 'intelligible to those readers who have no special knowledge of systematic zoology, and to whom most names with which its pages are often crowded must necessarily be unmeaning.' The inclusion of the 20 beautiful illustrations was important to help readers understand the book.

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Letter to Alfred Russel Wallace from the Royal Society, about his Darwin Medal award

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