Thursday, Jul 13, 2023
Included in our July catalogue is the rare first printing of one of Alfred Russel Wallace’s most significant papers: On the Phenomena of Variation and Geographical Distribution as Illustrated by the Papilionidae of the Malayan Region…, his important text on butterfly variation on the Malay Peninsula, illustrated with eight full-page lithographic plates. Of this paper Darwin wrote, “I cannot conceive that the most firm believer in species could read it without being staggered. Such papers will make many more converts among naturalists than long-winded books such as I shall write if I have the strength” (Epsilon WCP1868).
In this paper, read before the Linnean Society of London on 17 March 1864, Wallace presented detailed evidence of evolution occurring in nature. It contained some of his most important early observations and conclusions concerning mimicry, polymorphism, and protective colouration.