Synopsis of the Newcastle Museum, late The Allan, formerly The Tunstall, or Wycliffe Museum: to which are prefixed Memoirs of Mr. Tunstall, the founder, and of Mr. Allan, the Late Proprietor, of the Collection; with occasional remarks on the species, by those gentlemen and the editor.
Synopsis of the Newcastle Museum, late The Allan, formerly The Tunstall, or Wycliffe Museum: to which are prefixed Memoirs of Mr. Tunstall, the founder, and of Mr. Allan, the Late Proprietor, of the Collection; with occasional remarks on the species, by those gentlemen and the editor.

Synopsis of the Newcastle Museum…
Synopsis of the Newcastle Museum, late The Allan, formerly The Tunstall, or Wycliffe Museum: to which are prefixed Memoirs of Mr. Tunstall, the founder, and of Mr. Allan, the Late Proprietor, of the Collection; with occasional remarks on the species, by those gentlemen and the editor.

Newcastle: T. and J. Hodgson, 1827.

Octavo, with 13 engraved plates including a portrait of Tunstall; nineteenth century quarter calf, marbled boards.

Australian animals and Cook voyage artefacts on display in England

Rare and pioneering work, which describes the contents of one of the most significant collections of natural history specimens and ethnographic artefacts assembled in the eighteenth century. The Newcastle Museum grew from two important private collections: the naturalist Marmaduke Tunstall (1743-1790), who began collecting specimens for his private museum in London in the 1770s, moved his collections in 1776 to his new home at Wycliffe, Yorkshire. After his death the Wycliffe Museum was purchased by George Allan (1763-1800), lawyer and avid antiquary of Darlington, who added the collection to his own substantial holdings, to form the Allan Museum. On his death the museum went to his son, and in 1822 the combined collections passed into the hands of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne. The collection remains intact today, and is housed in the Hancock Museum, Newcastle.

Rare and pioneering work, which describes the contents of one of the most significant collections of natural history specimens and ethnographic artefacts assembled in the eighteenth century. The Newcastle Museum grew from two important private collections: the naturalist Marmaduke Tunstall (1743-1790), who began collecting specimens for his private museum in London in the 1770s, moved his collections in 1776 to his new home at Wycliffe, Yorkshire. After his death the Wycliffe Museum was purchased by George Allan (1763-1800), lawyer and avid antiquary of Darlington, who added the collection to his own substantial holdings, to form the Allan Museum. On his death the museum went to his son, and in 1822 the combined collections passed into the hands of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne. The collection remains intact today, and is housed in the Hancock Museum, Newcastle.

Fox's Synopsis is an important work in the early cataloguing of collections of this type and remains the main source of information for this still extant collection. Working mainly from the handwritten labels in the Museum, Fox catalogued the huge number of natural history specimens which included various species newly-discovered at the time of collection. Of particular interest to Australia are the descriptions of the wombat (with an engraved plate) and the duck-billed platypus (pp. 248-250), both based on the first specimens of their kind sent back to Europe (in 1798 by Governor Hunter, a member of the Museum's parent institution "The Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society"). There are a number of ornithological specimens from New Holland, New Zealand, and the Sandwich Islands (pp. 127-162). There is reference to a pair of parakeets brought to England by the King and Queen of Hawaii (p. 31), while the most interesting of the birds must be the "Blue-headed and bellied Parrot", the Australian lorikeet taken alive in 1770, while Cook's Endeavour was at Botany Bay; it became the pet of the Tahitian priest Tupaia and after his death came into the possession of Joseph Banks, who took it back to London. It later made its way, still evidently as a living specimen, into Tunstall's museum.

Of significance too are various ethnographic specimens brought back from Cook's voyages. The section "Utensils of Savage Nations" contains notes on artefacts from New Zealand, 'Owhyhee and other Sandwich Islands', Otaheite, Tonga, New Caledonia, and the Americas. Allan had mentioned 'curiosities brought by Captain Cook' in the title of a manuscript catalogue of this collection, and recent research has confirmed that two artefacts derive from the Endeavour: a painted paddle from New Zealand drawn by Sydney Parkinson during the voyage, and a Tahitian nose-flute drawn by J.F. Miller in 1771. Another source of artefacts described by Fox was a collection donated by Captain Wilson of the missionary ship Duff. The two major items described by Fox - a Tongan barbed spear and a Marquesan wooden gorget - survive in the collections today.

This catalogue is a rarity: Forbes records a single copy (Bishop Museum) and, despite much of Australian interest, it was not noted by Ferguson.

Forbes, 'Hawaiian National Bibliography', 661; Freeman, British Natural History Books, 1257; Hugo, Bewick Collector, 472; not in Bagnall; not recorded by Ferguson.

Price (AUD): $6,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504931

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