WATERHOUSE HAWKINS, Benjamin
The Boomorah Hyemoschus Aquaticus
London: Printed by McLean & Co., circa 1850. Drawing and Hand-coloured lithograph by Waterhouse Hawkins. Sheet size: 14 1/2 x 21 3/4 inches.
A fine plate from John Edward Gray's "Gleanings from the Menagerie at Knowsley," a comprehensive visual survey of one of the largest private menagerie's in Victorian England.
Edward Smith Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby (1775-1851) was a learned naturalist, who pursued his avid interest in zoology after a brief and unfulfilling political career. In addition to his frequent contributions to the Zoological Society's journal Proceedings, Stanley served as president of the Linnaean Society from 1828 to 1833 and, towards the end of his life, as president of the Zoological Society. He is probably best known, however, for the extensive menagerie of birds, quadrupeds, reptiles, and fish that he founded on his family estate of Knowsley outside of Liverpool. Stanley invested a significant amount of his fortune maintaining the menagerie and adding to the impressive collection of specimens housed in its zoological museum. He enlisted the help of two great 19th-century natural history artists to visually record aspects of his sizeable menagerie in its hey-day: Edward Lear (1812-1888) to record the birds and Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins the "Hoofed Quadrupeds." These remarkable images were published between 1846 and 1850 in J. E. Gray's "Gleanings from the Knowsley Menagerie and Aviary at Knowsley Hall". Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins was a distinguished natural history artist and sculptor, who was primarily known for the popular full-sized replicas of dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles that he created with Richard Owen for the Crystal Palace exhibition of 1853-4. He later moved to New York to produce similar life-like models for the American Museum of National History. These exceptional drawings of exotic herbivores invite us to share Hawkins' fascination with and fondness for these benign beasts.
Cf. Dictionary of National Biography; cf. Nissen ZBI 1691.