Thomas Bell

Thomas Bell, an English zoologist, was born Oct. 11, 1792. In 1832, Bell began issuing in parts his Monograph of the Testudinata, a beautiful work on turtles, illustrated by none other than James de Carle Sowerby and Edward Lear. This is a work we do not have in our collections, so we show above a plate from the copy at the University of Glasgow Libraries (third image).

Richard Owen

Richard Owen, an English anatomist, was born July 20, 1804. Owen was a brilliant paleontologist, the English heir to the great Georges Cuvier in France. When Charles Darwin returned from the Beagle voyage in 1836 and was looking for someone to identify and describe the mammal fossils he had brought back, he settled on Owen, and he couldn’t have made a better choice…

James Bowerbank

James Bowerbank, a British naturalist, was born July 14, 1797. Bowerbank was one of scores of English naturalists who provided Charles Darwin with specimens, support, and information, and made it possible for Darwin to pursue his studies and eventually compose The Origin of Species in the relative isolation of his home in Downe…

Joseph Dalton Hooker

Joseph Dalton Hooker, a British botanist, was born June 30, 1817. Hooker met Charles Darwin in 1839, as Hooker was departing for a voyage to the Antarctic. When Hooker returned in 1843, the two struck up a correspondence, and very soon Hooker had become Darwin’s closest friend…