Catalogue number: WP4/1/4
Architectural drawing of the front view of Wallace's house, The Dell at Grays in Essex, undated, circa 1871.
Wallace lived in a number of locations throughout his life. In 1871 he decided to have a house built in Grays, Essex, with views of the River Thames and the surrounding countryside. It is possible that Wallace himself drew this plan, although it remains unsigned.
It is beautifully drawn in black ink on waxed linen and is coloured with blue and brown inks. Features include a grand entrance porch, three levels with a fourth-level attic room, three chimneys on the main house and a one-storey wing extending to the right. The date 1871 in large numerals is set to the right of the entrance above two long thin windows. The magnitude of the project can be seen from the plans.
It was here at The Dell that Wallace wrote his groundbreaking, two-volume text on biogeography, The Geographical Distribution of Animals.
Such a large house became difficult for Wallace to maintain, and the family remained at the Dell only until 1876 when they moved to Dorking, Surrey.
For enquiries about the Wallace Collection please email the library
View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.