Posts tagged ‘London’

September 21, 2012

Alfred Russel Wallace Statue Commissioned

News Release from The Wallace Memorial Fund:

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.”

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

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:

November 5, 2008

Mary Anning at the N.H.M, London.

The Fossil Marine Reptile Gallery in London’s Natural History Museum is a true wonder. While examining some photos I took during a visit there, I came across the following discrepancy. You would think that by having Mary Anning‘s placard prominently displayed with this magnificent plesiosaur that she would have had a role in its discovery. It turns out that this particular plesiosaur, Rhomaleosaurus cramptoni, is a cast of the original fossil specimen now in the National Museum of Ireland. As Adam Stuart Smith of the Plesiosaur Directory points out (see commentary in the guest book), it was originally unearthed in 1848 in an alum quarry near Kettleness on the Yorkshire coast and it could not be one of Mary’s finds, as she died in 1847.Mary Anning’s fossil discoveries were found in the region of Lyme Regis in Dorset and can be seen on other areas of this wall of fossil specimens. (The ichthyosaur, Temnodontosaurus platyodon seen below is one of Anning’s finds). The Wikipedia entry for Mary Anning has an image which incorrectly attributes the discovery of this specimen of R. cramptoni to her, perhaps due to the placement of the placard.


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