Objects

The Lepidoptera of Marmaduke Tunstall

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Image of a Magpie moth by Stephen Livingstone

When George Allan Esq. bought up Marmaduke Tunstall’s collection in 1790 it included a small selection of lepidoptera, forty-four species of butterfly and twenty five species of moth. He originally formed his own museum of natural history and curiosities before the collection eventually came into the possession of the Literary and Philosophical Society in 1823.

Tunstall had been a highly respected naturalist and collector and his “Ornithologica Britannica” was the first publication to use Linnaeus’s new binominal nomenclature to name and classify species. The same revolutionary system was used to record the insects in his collection. Of the moths, fifteen received their new latinised names whilst a further ten were listed as “Other Species”. The tablature is of interest as it includes some of Linnaeus’s earliest and most primitive names as well as some of his mistaken classifications.

Sadly this important early collection has disappeared, reduced to dust or dispersed amongst other collections in the stores of the Great North Museum. Returning to the Philosophers’ Table saw the return of the collection as the Manifold Works by Stephen Livingstone.



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