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Annotated proof print of a lemur

Annotated proof print of a lemur

Catalogue number: WP6/6/4(19)

Annotated proof print illustration of a lemur for Wallace's book Studies Scientific and Social, undated, circa 1900.

This proof print shows an illustration of a lemur, labelled as Lemur catta (ring-tailed lemur). The annotations are by Wallace, in preparation for his book Studies Scientific and Social (published in 1900). The book was made up mainly of reprints of important articles written by Wallace over the 35 years from 1865 to 1899. As the title suggests, this covered a broad range of topics that held Wallace's interest, for example geology, animal and plant distribution, anthropology and evolution.

Wallace described the lemur as 'about the size of a large cat but with longer limbs'. He also suggests that the drawing gives an excellent idea of this beautiful animal (fig. 43, page 180).  Wallace wrote about Madagascar in his book Island Life and also in Geographical Distribution of Animals, but never actually visited the island. In true Wallace style, however, he recounts a story of a 'pet' lemur that wandered into his garden, jumped onto his shoulder ('most unexpectedly') and then into the tree under which Wallace was standing.

The illustration was included in volume one, chapter seven 'Monkeys: Their Affinities and Distribution'. The original paper was published in Contemporary Review (December 1881). Wallace wrote 'Flower & Lydekker' at the top of the proof print. This refers to the origin of the illustration: W.H. Flower and R. Lydekker's An Introduction to the Study of Mammals Living and Extinct (1891).

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