Skip navigation

Wallace100

13 Posts tagged with the wallace_statue tag
2

With the Wallace100 year drawing to a close, a year that has seen us remember and celebrate the legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace 100 years after his death, I was interested to find out if there was any activity immediately after Wallace’s death in November 1913 to mark his extraordinary life in any way. I thought there was no better place to start looking than in the letters sent after his death found on Wallace Letters Online.

 

Shortly after his death, Wallace’s three close friends, James Marchant, Raphael Meldola and Edward Bagnall Poulton set up the Wallace Memorial Fund, also known as the Memorial Committee. The fund’s purpose was to create a memorial for Wallace, in the form of a medallion featuring Wallace for Westminster Abbey; a portrait of him and a statue of him for the Natural History Museum.

 

As it turned out only the medallion and the portrait were created, with the memorial unveiled at the Abbey on 1 November 1915 and the painting by J. W. Beaufort presented to the Museum on the 100th anniversary of his birth in January 1923.

 

Marchant, Meldola and Poulton set about raising awareness of the Fund and raising money in the months following November 1913. In a letter written to Poulton on 23 February 1914, Meldola (the Fund’s Treasurer) informs Poulton

 

“The Fund is now £236 & Marchant wants to issue order for Medallion”.

 

Westminster Abbey was delighted to accept the medallion and nine months after this letter was written, it was unveiled.

 

Well-known names from the scientific world contributed to the fund, including Archibald Geikie, E. Ray Lankester and David Prain as well as contributors from the world of spiritualism and long-term correspondents of Wallace’s – Oliver Lodge and William Crookes.

 

However, a letter from William Greenell Wallace in January 1914 to TDA Cockerell, who was a close friend of Wallace’s, revealed the difficulties the Fund was having in realising their ambitious programme;

 

“I am sorry to say that the memorial fund is progressing very slowly and I doubt it will be possible to do more than the Abbey medallion, and even that will cost £300. The Abbey fee, for permission only, is £200 and the sculptor’s fee, greatly reduced in this case, is £100. It seems that fame without money has not much chance of recognition in this democratic country.”

 

“There is no fear that the statue will [be] disappointing as there is no chance of it being done, at present.”

 

Violet Wallace, in a letter to Octavius Pickard-Cambridge written on 5 December 1913 talked about the possible statue, writing,

 

“I like the idea of a statue if it could be like the one of Darwin in the N. H. Museum – that one always looks so natural, and my father would look nice.”

 

Sadly, the Fund didn’t raise enough money to achieve all of their aims, with the statue not being realised. However, 100 years after his death, there is at last a statue of Wallace housed at the Museum, a fitting way to commemorate Wallace and his achievements.

 

The Wallace Memorial Fund launched a new fundraising campaign last year and comissioned sculptor Anthony Smith to create a statue of Wallace in his exploring days, as a young naturalist in the field. It is also perhaps fitting, that the statue will be positioned close to the Darwin Centre, where the bulk of Wallace’s specimens that he collected during his years in the field are now housed.

 

Wallace statue.jpgThe new statue of Alfred Russel Wallace after its unveiling by Sir David Attenborough.

 

Update: The new statue was unveiled at a ceremony last night by Sir David Attenborough and will be located inside the Darwin Centre for the weekend before moving to its permanent position outside on Monday.

 

-Caroline-

Wallace Correspondence Project



0

1-Cover_evolve-15.jpg

As many of you will know, the Museum has been celebrating the life and work of Alfred Russel Wallace this year in a big way. As part of the celebrations, the Museum's magazine evolve has published four interesting articles about Wallace, and thanks to an agreement with the magazine's Senior Editor Helen Sturge, and the authors of the articles in question, they can now be downloaded as PDFs.

 

 

+ Richard Conniff's article Wallace: species seeker extraordinaire from issue 15 (pictured). Download the PDF.

 

+ Caroline Catchpole's article Letters of a naturalist: the Wallace Correspondence Project from issue 16. Download the PDF.

 

+ George Beccaloni's article Wallace immortalised: Museum set to receive Wallace statue 100 years later than planned from issue 17. Download the PDF.

 

+ Jim Costa's article On the Organic Law of Change: Alfred Russel Wallace and the book that should have been from issue 17. Download the PDF.

 

 

Because issue 17 of evolve hasn't even been distributed yet you will get to read the two interesting articles in it before everyone else!

 

Copies of evolve can also be purchased from the Museum's online shop and are recevied for free by members of the Museum.

0

Ancestor's Trail and Entangled Bank Events are very kindly helping to raise the remaining £25,000 for the statue of Wallace that the Wallace Memorial Fund has commissioned and which is destined for the Museum. It will be unveiled by Sir David Attenborough on the 100th anniversary of Wallace's death - 7 November 2013.

 

Richard Dawkins has very generously agreed to help with the fundraising, by giving a talk on the 24th August in Bristol as part of this year's Ancestor's Trail. What follows is an excerpt from an interview Richard recently gave about the event:

 

 

Evolutionary biologist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins talks exclusively to Venue about his forthcoming visit to Bristol to take part in this year's Ancestor's Trail in August. Interview: Tom Phillips.


You’re coming to Bristol in August for the ‘Wallace in Bristol’ event which is, in turn, part of The Ancestor’s Trail. What will you be doing at this event and what else will be happening on the day?

 

I’ll be one of a number of speakers honouring Wallace, the “other Darwin”. The event is in aid of a good cause, raising a statue of Wallace to join Darwin’s in the Natural History Museum. My talk is called ‘Give the under surface to Mr Wallace, but yield the upper surface to Mr Darwin.’ Enigmatic, yes, intentionally so with a meaning both literal and metaphoric. All will become clear, and I shall leave plenty of time to answer questions at the end.

 

‘Wallace in Bristol’ is in honour of Alfred Russel Wallace: how important was his work to the study of evolution?

 

Natural selection is a remarkably simple yet powerful idea, and it is astonishing that it had to wait till the mid nineteenth century before anyone thought of it. And then two English naturalists thought of it at almost the same time. Charles Darwin is well known. Alfred Wallace is often forgotten, but he really did have the same idea as Darwin, at almost the same time, and he expressed it in almost exactly the same terms. Indeed, in some ways Wallace’s way of putting it was even clearer – dare I say even more Darwinian (and, by the way, Wallace coined the word “Darwinism”) than Darwin’s own.

 

The Ancestors’ Trail is inspired by your book ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’ in which you relate the history of evolution using reverse chronology. Why did you choose to adopt that particular strategy?

 

Forward chronology has a pernicious weakness. It can suggest, if we are not very careful, that evolution is “aiming” at some distant future target. It becomes even more pernicious if that distant target is considered to be humanity. Since we are human, it is entirely pardonable to be especially interested in our own ancestry. I wanted to pander to this, but at the same time the last thing I wanted was to suggest that evolution was aiming towards us, or that we are “evolution’s last word” etc. When you put it like that, a solution leaps to mind. Tell the story of evolution backwards. Begin with humans and work backwards to the origin of life. We could begin with anything, hornet, hippopotamus or hummingbird and work backwards. The end point would be the same in all cases: the origin of life. That is the beauty of working backwards, and that very fact tells us something important about evolution.

 

Read more at venue.co.uk

0

Moulding the Statue

 

Sculptor Anthony Smith writes:

 

During the past couple of months I have been putting the finishing touches to the clay sculpture of Wallace, and we have now finally finished making its all-important mould. Taking a mould of a large, immovable object, such as a clay statue, is a rather complex operation, but hopefully these photos will help to explain exactly how we went about it...

3.jpg

The front and back of the statue are moulded separately, so the first step involved creating a dividing line all around the edge of the statue (above). This was done by building up a wooden support behind the statue, then adding a clay wall along the dividing line. Chalk powder is put on the surface of the clay statue first so that the clay wall can be removed without damaging the surface of the statue itself.

4.jpg

Once the clay wall has been added it is time to start coating the front side of the statue with a layer of silicone rubber (above). This is a fantastic material for mould-making as it can be easily applied to almost any surface, capturing the tiniest of details in the original sculpture (right down to the sculptor's fingerprints!).

5.jpg

Above you can see the front of the statue, with the wooden support behind and some of the clay wall still visible. The whole front and base of the statue is coated in a thick layer of white silicone rubber. The circular dents that you can see in the rubber are there so that the rubber sits correctly in the plaster casing... see below.

6.jpgPreparing the plaster.

7.jpg

Above you can see that the first section of the plaster casing has been added, encasing the base of the statue. Wooden supports are included within the plaster to add strength.

8.jpg

Once the whole of the front of the statue is encased in plaster it is time to work on the back (above) – the wooden support and the clay wall are removed and a layer of rubber is added over the top of the clay, just the same as for the front.

 

Once the rubber on the back of the sculpture has fully set, it too is enclosed with a plaster casing. Only once the plaster has fully dried is it time to take the mould apart...

9.jpg

First, the various parts of the plaster casing are prised off (above - you can see one of these parts leaning against the wall behind the statue). Then the rubber is peeled from the surface of the clay and laid back inside the plaster casing. This way the rubber holds the exact same shape as it did when it was on the surface of the statue and an accurate replica can be made. Finally, the moulding is complete!

 

So what next? Well, the mould is currently at the foundry where they are busy creating a hollow wax replica of the statue. Next week I will be joining the foundry to put the finishing touches to this replica, then we will move on to the 'investment' and casting stages.

 

If you're already curious to learn exactly how the mould is used, here's a good summary of the lost-wax casting process.


My next update will be coming from the foundry... stay tuned!

0

Sculptor Anthony Smith writes:

 

The rather spooky-looking plaster outline of Wallace shown in my last post has now been fleshed-out with a surface layer of clay and is now looking a lot more human. There are many possible sculpting materials, but I have found nothing better than a good quality water-based sculpting clay, which is similar to common potters clay, but with no grit or 'grog', which gives it a nice smooth finish.

 

I have begun by sculpting Wallace more-or-less nude, so that all of the limbs and muscle groups are correctly modelled, and it is onto this naked form I will soon be adding the clothes (again, all in clay). In order to get all the anatomy and the folds of the clothes correct I am working with a model with a similar physique to Wallace, who will also be wearing the same sorts of clothes that Wallace wore when out hunting specimens in the jungles of the Malay Archipelago. Quite a lot of research has gone into tracking-down the correct clothing, based on Wallace's own writings and the advice of experts, and I now have a Victorian 'hunting-shirt', just like the ones Wallace describes himself as wearing.

 

"To give English entomologists some idea of the collecting here, I will give a sketch of one good day’s work. Till breakfast I am occupied ticketing and noting the captures of the previous day, examining boxes for ants, putting out drying-boxes and setting the insects of any caught by lamp-light. About 10 o’clock I am ready to start. My equipment is, a rug-net [bag-net], large collecting-box hung by a strap over my shoulder, a pair of pliers for Hymenoptera, two bottles with spirits, one large and wide-mouthed for average Coleoptera, &c., the other very small for minute and active insects, which are often lost by attempting to drop them into a large mouthed bottle. These bottles are carried in pockets in my hunting-shirt, and are attached by strings round my neck; the corks are each secured to the bottle by a short string". Wallace in a letter to Stevens from Sarawak in 1855

 

Since the statue of Wallace is around 10% larger than life-size, I am constantly taking measurements from my model and doing enlargement calculations before making the additions to my sculpture.

 

We don't want to give too much of the design away at this stage, so future posts will be limited to written descriptions and perhaps a few detail shots. All will be revealed on 7 November at the unveiling!

0

Sculptor Anthony Smith writes:

 

It has been rather tricky tracking down the exact designs of the boots, trousers and (particularly) the shirt that Wallace would have worn, but we have finally managed it thanks to various individuals at the V&A, the University of Auckland, the Northampton Museum, and some great detective work by George Beccaloni.

 

Using information gleaned from Wallace's own writings as well as the advice of various experts, we can now depict Wallace in his full, authentic clothing, and with all his proper collecting equipment (which I'm sure he would be very happy about!). The plaster stage of the sculpture has been completed and I am now working on the clay (see below).

Statue1.smaller.jpgStatue2.smaller.jpg

 

The general forms that make up the body are sculpted in plaster but are kept slightly small in order to leave space for the clay surface. The plaster is then varnished to prevent it from drawing too much moisture from the clay on top.

 

1861 boots (1).jpg

Ankle-height, lace-up leather boots circa 1861, of the type Wallace probably wore in the Malay Archipelago

 

Read the earlier posts in this series:

 

0

So far in this series of posts on the making of the Wallace statue, we've described the background to the project and introduced me as the sculptor, and shown the important first stages of preparation.

 

In this third entry in the series, things are beginning to take shape:

1.jpg

The steel and wood armature that will support the plaster and clay of the sculpture.

 

2.jpg

Steel rods are used to support the arms, and a number of screws are added to the central wooden board and the leg frames in order to give greater support for the light-weight materials that are added next.

 

3.jpg

The rough shape of the body and limbs are 'blocked-out' using light-weight materials such as polystyrene foam and wood-wool (which is bound tightly to the armature using strong twine). It is onto these materials that the plaster and clay will be added.

 

More photos soon!

 

Anthony Smith

 

Read the earlier posts in this series:

 

0

The important first stages of the Wallace statue have now been completed...

 

The first task in creating a statue is the construction of an accurate 'armature' (the skeleton onto which the plaster and clay is built). This has to be done very carefully, as the positioning of the armature will entirely determine how the statue ends up.

 

In order to create an accurate armature, I have been working with a male model (with the same physique as Wallace) and taking various measurements and reference photos.

 

1 - measurements.jpg'Tools of the trade' – callipers and plumb-lines are used to establish the precise position of various key points on the model (patella, wrists, elbows, acromion etc.)

 

Since I will be sculpting Wallace approximately 10% larger than life, all of these measurements and their positions have to be adjusted accordingly.

 

2 - sculpting platform.jpgThe Sculpting Platform – it is important that the sculpting platform not only be strong enough to support the finished clay sculpture (perhaps 200kg in weight), but it must also be mobile, so that the statue can be easily moved around for viewing at different angles.

 

3 - floor template.jpgThe Floor Template – the various key measurements are enlarged by 10% and then transferred to the sculpting platform for assisting with the creation of the armature.]

 

4 - armature construction.jpgSteel armature.

 

It's all coming along nicely!

 

More pictures next week...

 

A guest post by the sculptor Anthony Smith

 

Read the first post in this series:

 

0

Background to the project

 

On the 15th July 2012 the Wallace Memorial Fund, with the enthusiastic support of its Patron, comedian and natural historian Bill Bailey, and its Treasurer, Wallace's grandson Richard, began a campaign to raise £50,000 for a life-size bronze statue of Wallace for the Museum to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Wallace’s death in 2013. The campaign closed 7 months later on the 16th February 2013 and exactly £25,000 was raised.

 

Although the Wallace Fund's campaign has now ended the fundraising will continue until August 2013 thanks to the kind people who are organising the 2013 Ancestor's Trail. This year's event will be Wallace themed and the aim will be to try to raise the remaining £25,000 for the statue. In the meantime, the Wallace Fund has commissioned sculptor Anthony Smith to produce a model for the full statue as the Fund is optimistic that all the money will be raised in time. Anthony has kindly agreed to write a series of posts for this blog documenting the process of making the statue. The first of his posts is below.

 

Hello from the sculptor

 

As this is my first post about the Wallace statue, I should first say a little something about myself... My name is Anthony Smith and I am a British sculptor (now based in Amsterdam). Before I began my career as a sculptor, I studied biology at Cambridge University, specialising in animal behaviour and evolution. It was then, at the age of nineteen, that I bought my 1st edition copy of Alfred Russel Wallace's book Darwinism – and I have been fascinated by him ever since. It is therefore a huge honour and delight to have been commissioned to create a statue of Wallace (which is, of course, long overdue) and I can think of no better location for it than the wonderful Natural History Museum in London!

 

I will be following up this message with various posts and photos throughout the sculpting process, keeping everyone up-to-date with the progress of the statue. But at the moment I can let you know that I have begun the ground-work for the statue – constructing a mobile sculpting platform, and beginning work on the steel armature that will support the clay sculpture. Photos to follow in due course... watch this space!

 

For more information about myself and my previous work, feel free to visit my website.

0

Happy Wallace Year 2013 - Welcome to Wallace100!w100_black.SMALL.jpg

 

Museum Wallace News

 

  • The 8th of this month sees Wallace's 190th birthday and on the 24 January the Museum will launch its Wallace100 events programme at an invitation-only evening function. During the event the Wallace Correspondence Project's digital archive of Wallace's correspondence, Wallace Letters Online, will be officially launched by comedian and natural historian Bill Bailey.

    Bill will also unveil a magnificent oil painting of Wallace which will hang on the wall to the right of the Darwin statue on the main stairs of the Museum's Central Hall. This portrait was actually donated to the Museum in 1923 to commemorate Wallace's 100th birthday, and it hung in that exact location for 50 years until it was put into storage.
  • The first public Wallace100 event of the year will take place on the 25 January. It will be a Nature Live talk by myself and Caroline Catchpole about the Museum's unrivalled archive of Wallace's manuscripts.
  • The next of the Museum's Wallace100 events will be a public lecture by the well-known geneticist and science writer Steve Jones on the 7 February. His talk is entitled "Wallace and the Joy of Sects: Rewriting the Bible as a scientific text"  and, although it is free, you will need to book a ticket to attend. Steve's talk is the first of 10 monthly talks in the Museum's Wallace100 Lecture Series.
  • The campaign to raise funds for a life-size bronze statue of Wallace for the Museum unfortunately has to close at the end of this month. So far about £19,000 has been contributed by about 45 generous donors, which is enough to commission a twice-life-size portrait bust of Wallace *IF* the campaign fails to reach its £50,000 target. So, please consider donating (any sum large or small) and entering the Free Prize Draw

 

Other News

 

  • Richard Dawkins suggests we should celebrate Wallace's birth in the same way that we celebrate Christmas.
  • The Biological Journal of the Linnean Society has a FREE 'virtual' issue dedicated to Wallace - very appropriate given that the seminal paper by Darwin and Wallace on evolution by natural selection was published by the Society in 1858.
And Finally ...

 

0

Evolution by natural selection has been called "...arguably the most momentous idea ever to occur to a human mind" yet only one of its co-discoverers, Charles Darwin, is honoured by a statue in the Natural History Museum. The other, Alfred Russel Wallace, has no statue in this museum or indeed anywhere else in the world, a sad fact that the Wallace Memorial Fund would like to change.

 

About 2 months ago the Fund launched a campaign to raise the money needed for a life-size bronze statue of Wallace for the Museum, which if all goes to plan, will be unveiled on the 100th anniversary of his death, 7 November 2013. Unfortunately, fundraising has been slow and £38,000 remains to be found by the impending deadline of 31 January 2013.

 

In an attempt to publicise the campaign and boost donations the Wallace Fund has just launched a free prize draw with the following fantastic prizes:

 

  • A pair of tickets to attend a very special event at the Natural History Museum on Thursday the 7 November 2013 - the 100th anniversary of Wallace's death. Details of this event have not been finalised, but it is very likely that there will be a lecture by Sir David Attenborough at the start of the event. Bill Bailey should be attending the event and he and/or Sir David will unveil the Wallace statue - that is if sufficient money has been raised to commission it! Tickets to the lecture will be in short supply and the VIP event afterwards will be by invitation only.
  • An exclusive leather-bound copy of the hand-printed book The Letter from Ternate by Tim Preston which is due to be published in Spring 2013. Only 100 individually numbered copies of this book will be produced and the standard copies will be cloth-bound.
  • A pack of assorted Bill Bailey merchandise - some/all will be signed by Bill himself.
  • A signed copy of the hardback edition of the book Natural Selection and Beyond edited by Charles Smith and George Beccaloni.

 

More details about the draw may be found on the Wallace Memorial Fund website.

Charles_Darwin_Statue,_Natural_History_Museum,_London (1).jpgThe Natural History Museum's magnificent statue of Darwin
Photo copyright Eluveitie/London
1

A beautiful, small, hand-printed and hand-bound book is currently being produced by Tim Preston to mark next year's Alfred Russel Wallace anniversary. Tim's day job is in magazine publishing, and his hobby is also publishing - using a mechanical Albion hand printing press which dates from the 1870's (see photo below). Once the pages have been printed Tim will glue in all the illustrations and the books will then be professionally hand bound in cloth. Only 100 individually numbered copies will be produced and almost half have been reserved already. If you would like to reserve a copy then please contact Tim at timpress@me.com. Tim estimates that they will cost only about £50 GBP each - a bargain for a book that is entirely produced by hand!

 

Not only is the book special because of how it is being produced, but it will be of interest to scholars since all the letters featured in it have been carefully transcribed by Tim from the original manuscripts. This is the first time that accurate copies of all the original surviving correspondence relating to the publication of Wallace's Ternate essay has been published together in this way.

 

Another good reason to buy a copy is that Tim has kindly offered to give all profits from sales of the book to the Wallace Memorial Fund as a contribution to its campaign to raise money for a life-size bronze statue of Wallace for the Museum. The statue campaign needs all the help it can get as the deadline for fundraising is the end of January 2013, and there is still a massive £38,000 which needs to be found!

 

To advertise the book Tim has produced a postcard, the front and back of which are reproduced below.

 

LFT_photo_Advert.SMALL.jpgFront of the 'postcard'

 

LFT_text_Advert.SMALL.jpgBack of the 'postcard

 

AlbionPress.Small.jpg

Tim's ancient Albion printing press


WallacesBee.Small.jpg

Wallace's giant bee - a woodcut illustration for the book
0

The Wallace Memorial Fund has today sent out the Press Release below, appealing for funds for a magnificent and unique life-size bronze statue to commemorate the 100th anniversary next year of Wallace's death (7 November 2013). You can help the campaign in various ways e.g. by posting the text and images below on relevant websites and blogs, or telling potential donors about the campaign. Your help (in whatever way) would be very much appreciated. Wouldn't it be great to see the statue and think that you helped to make it a reality!

 

 

Discoverer of Natural Selection to finally get his statue (albeit 100 years late)

Statue of Alfred Russel Wallace to be commissioned for the Natural History Museum, 100 years after the project was scuppered by the First World War.


Alfred Russel Wallace was one of the greatest scientists of the nineteenth century and when he passed away aged 90 in November 1913 plans were soon underway to commemorate his remarkable life. Fundraising began for a statue to be displayed at the Natural History Museum in London, but within a few months this was scuppered by the outbreak of the First World War and the project had to be abandoned.

 

One-hundred years on, the Wallace Memorial Fund has been revived and is attempting to raise £50,000 GBP to commission a life-sized bronze statue which it will donate to the Natural History Museum. It would be unveiled on 7th November 2013, to commemorate the centenary of Wallace's death. The piece would be sculpted by Anthony Smith; a zoology graduate-turned sculptor, who in 2009 created an acclaimed statue of Charles Darwin for Cambridge University.

 

The Wallace Fund has already received a generous donation of £10,000 GBP, but it needs to raise the remaining £40,000 GBP in just four months, in order to give the sculptor enough time to produce the work for the November 2013 unveiling.

 

British comedian Bill Bailey, the Wallace Memorial Fund's Patron, who is a long-time admirer of Wallace, appealed to everyone who loves natural history and science for donations. “Wallace was a maverick genius who deserves much greater recognition for his brilliant discoveries.” He continues, “The statue will be seen by many of the 4.5 million people who visit the museum each year and it will help raise awareness of this extraordinary man.”

 

BillBailey.jpg

Bill at the Natural History Museum, London, with a painting of Wallace and some of Wallace’s specimens. 
© Janet Beccaloni

 

The Natural History Museum is planning a big celebration of Wallace’s life and scientific legacy called Wallace100 which will be launched in January 2013. Wallace100 will culminate with the unveiling of the statue in November. Many other museums and other organisations worldwide are also planning Wallace events; with conferences in London, New York, Mexico, Gibraltar and Sarawak, Malaysia; museum exhibitions in London, Oxford, Wales, the Netherlands, Singapore and Australia; plus several books; and at least one TV documentary.

 

For more information about the statue, including details of how to donate, visit the Wallace Fund's website.


About Wallace:

 

ARW in 1869.jpgAlfred Russel Wallace in c. 1869 aged c. 46
© G. W. Beccaloni

 

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 - 1913) was one of the 19th century's most remarkable intellectuals. Not only did he co-discover the process of evolution by natural selection with Charles Darwin in 1858, but he also made very many other significant contributions, not just to biology, but also to subjects as diverse as glaciology, land reform, anthropology, ethnography, epidemiology, and astrobiology.

 

His pioneering work on evolutionary biogeography (the study of how plants and animals are distributed) led to him becoming recognised as that subject’s ‘father’. Beyond this, Wallace is regarded as the pre-eminent collector and field biologist of tropical regions of the 19th century, and his book The Malay Archipelago (which was Joseph Conrad’s favourite bedside reading) is one of the most celebrated travel writings of that century and has never been out of print.

 

The bulk of his remarkable collection of more than 120,000 specimens of insects, birds and other animals which he made in South-East Asia between 1854 and 1862, including over 5,000 species which were new to science, is cared for by the Natural History Museum. Hundreds of animal species have been named after him, including the spectacular bird-of-paradise Wallace's Standardwing from the Maluku Islands, Indonesia, and the recently discovered gremlin-like Wallace’s tarsier from Sulawesi Island, Indonesia.

 

Whilst Darwin came from a very wealthy background, Wallace struggled to support his passion for natural history and had to fund his tropical expeditions by selling specimens to collectors back home (Darwin included).

 

By the time of his death Wallace was probably the world’s most famous scientist, but since then his intellectual legacy has been overshadowed by that of Darwin (who, of course, already has a statue at the Natural History Museum).

 

END

 

For more information please contact Dr George Beccaloni, Chairman of the Wallace Memorial Fund (Email: blaberus1@ntlworld.com or g.beccaloni@nhm.ac.uk).