MAGUIRE, Thomas Herbert
Ipswich: George Ransome, 1851. Tinted lithograph in octagonal format, signature as title "Wm Jardine", artist's printed signature in image l.r. "T. H. Maguire 1849". Printed by M. & N. Hanhart. Image size (including text): 13 1/2 x 9 3/8 inches. Sheet size: 23 3/4 x 17 inches.
A fine portrait of one of the great Scottish naturalists
Sir William Jardine (1800- 1874). the 7th Baronet of Applegirth, Dumfriesshire, was an industrious naturalist, who through prodigious efforts produced a fine encyclopedia on the animals of the world.
He was born in Edinburgh and graduated from Edinburgh University. Though ornithology was his primary passion, he also studied ichthyology, entomology, botany and geology. He epitomised the 19th century British amateur naturalist who, at that stage in the development of the science, could still make an important contribution.
This he did in editing the 40 volume The Naturalist's Library (1833-43), much of which he wrote. He also collaborated with his friend Prideaux Selby on Illustrations of British Ornithology (1826), still one of the finest ornithological surveys.
The Naturalist's Library was immensely popular. It is written for the general reader and consists of interesting stories and facts about the lives of the birds, mammals, insects and fish, each handsomely illustrated. Each volume also has a portrait and memoir about a famous or important naturalist, for example, Maria Sybilla Merian, Thomas Pennant, Sir Joseph Banks, Cuvier and Buffon.
Thomas Herbert Maguire (1821-1895) was a British artist, who studied lithography with Richard James Lane. He is best known for the portraits of scientists, primarily naturalists, for which he was commissioned by George Ransome, F. L. S. in connection with the founding of the Ipswich Museum. Ransome gave the portraits as gifts to subscribing members and gave the entire portfolio, which ultimately ran to 60 portraits, to especially important figures, most notably Prince Albert when he visited the museum in 1851.
Maguire brought to portrait making an unusual capacity to capture a person's type and character. His portraits did not try glorify their subject but rather showed their individuality. The subject's renown depended on their accomplishments, which would have been well-known to the observers, rather than on the impression they made. Maguire made no effort to dignify his sitters, only to show them as they were.