25 November 2009

Alfred Russel Wallace's cabinet

TYWKIWDBI has a particular affinity for stories about "cabinets of curiosities." These "Wunderkammer" were storehouses of interesting things, and were particularly popular in the Victorian era. One of the great Victorian naturalists was Alfred Russel Wallace, discoverer of Wallace's Line in the East Indies. Today Discovery News featured an article about Wallace's personal collections cabinet.
Today marks the 150th anniversary of Darwin's seminal work, On the Origin of Species by the Means of Natural Selection. It is therefore fitting that the American Museum of Natural History has just unveiled Wallace's cabinet, which is now on display in the museum's Grand Gallery. It's a stunning piece, made of fine-crafted rosewood. The exterior, however, is no match for the interior. Nearly two thousand sorted and labeled beetles, moths and plants fill its drawers.
I've included a photo of a sample drawer of moths. Other photos at the link show drawers of butterflies, beetles, shells, and seeds.

1 comment:

  1. BTW - this collectamania of the late Victorians has been chronicled in cross stitch. Check out Pangea by Dimples Designs, and the series "Professor Fizzby's Wonderous Strange Collection of Wee Beasties" among others.
    I just finished Wee Beasties 3.


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