Journal Article

Charles W. Peach and Darwin's barnacles

Lyall I. Anderson and Mathew Lowe

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 22, issue 2, pages 257-270
Published in print November 2010 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online March 2010 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhq006
Charles W. Peach and Darwin's barnacles

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The University Museum of Zoology (Cambridge) holds Charles Darwin's collection of microscope slide dissections prepared during his studies of living barnacles. This collection was assembled through an extensive network of museum contacts and amateur collectors. We examine in detail the role of one of these collectors, Charles W. Peach, a coastguard in the Customs Service. Detailed study of the slide collection reveals an internal chronology of manufacture against which timelines of Peach and Darwin's activities can be compared. Four distinct phases of slide fixative are recognized and subsequent alterations to Darwin's original collection can be demonstrated. The internal chronology also reveals that Darwin dissected and mounted barnacles as he received material, rather than working systematically through taxonomic groups. Aside from Peach, other suppliers of barnacles included Samuel Stutchbury, Joseph Hooker and Robert Damon.

Journal Article.  8024 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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