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Portrait of Wallace's father

Portrait of Wallace's father

Catalogue number: WP6/8/5

Portrait of Wallace's father Thomas Vere Wallace, undated, circa 1807.

This sepia photograph shows an oval miniature portrait in a square frame. It is Wallace's father, Thomas Vere Wallace, aged 35 years. Thomas Vere Wallace died in 1843.  This photograph was reproduced in Wallace's autobiography My Life (facing page 16, 1905).

The date is uncertain but the original portrait was possibly painted when he married Wallace's mother, Mary Anne Greenell in 1807. Before their marriage, Thomas was a man of leisure, and although a qualified solicitor he could afford not to practise.

Things changed as the Wallace family grew. With nine children (only six of whom survived into adulthood) more money was needed. A few bad investments made matters worse and the family subsequently struggled financially for many years. This did not seem to affect Wallace, the young budding naturalist who fondly recalls his childhood in his autobiography (My Life, 1905).

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Wallace Letters Online

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

View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.

Explore Wallace's correspondence