Plates of Birds Collected during the Voyage of the H.M.S. Challenger, 1873-1876


Special Collections, University of Otago

Date Created

27th May 2016


When the Challenger returned to England, the leader of the expedition, Sir Charles Wyville Thomson, urged Philip Lutley Sclater (1829-1913) to 'undertake the examination of the skins of the birds collected during the voyage'. Sclater, a lawyer, expert ornithologist, and Secretary of the Zoological Society of London, readily acquiesced to Thomson's request. The Challenger's bird collection numbered 900 in total and they had been preserved by the Challenger's taxidermist, Frederick Pearcey. Joseph Smit, a Dutch zoological illustrator, executed the plates for Sclater and the Challenger expedition publication. The pair had worked together previously on Sclater's work, Exotic Ornithology (1869).
Sclater records in the Introduction of his 'Report on the Birds...' that 'The thirty coloured plates, which illustrate the most remarkable species obtained during the Expedition, have in every case been taken from specimens belonging to the Challenger series.'
This collection of plates comes from the second Zoological volume published in 1881.


Special Collections, University of Otago

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