OWEN, Richard The Life of Richard Owen by his Grandson the Rev. Richard Owen ... with the Scientific Portions Revised by C. Davies Sherborn. Also an Essay on Owen's Position in Anatomical Science by the Right Hon. T.H. Huxley. London: Spottiswoode and Co. for John Murray, 1894.
8vo (202 x 130mm), 2 volumes. Original green cloth gilt, upper boards with borders of six gilt fillets, spines lettered and ruled in gilt, light grey patterned endpapers; pp. I: -'', [2 (illustrations, verso blank)], -409, [1 (blank)], -2 (publisher's advertisement); II: 1]-'', [1 (illustrations)], -393, [1 (blank)], -2 (publisher's advertisement); photogravure portrait frontispieces by Walker and Boutall after H.W. Pickersgill and Byrne, retaining tissue guards, 4 half-tone plates and one photogravure plate by Walker and Boutall retaining tissue guard; illustrations, diagrams, and plans in the text, some full-page; occasional faint spotting especially to frontispieces, otherwise a very good set.
First edition. A biography of the eminent comparative anatomist and palaeontologist Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892) by his grandson, which was published shortly after the subject's death, and draws heavily on his correspondence and journals, as the author explains in his preface: 'Sir Richard Owen's careful habit of preserving every paper or letter that came to his hands has rendered the task of preparing his 'Life' more difficult perhaps than it would otherwise have been. Of his own letters, written chiefly to his wife and sisters, no less than 1,200 remain; while of the voluminous correspondence he received during his long life more than 15,000 letters had been preserved. Besides all these, both he and his wife were in the habit of keeping diaries. His own journal is of a more or less disconnected character; while that of his wife, which includes the years 1834 to 1873, is a full record not only of the important facts but also of the trivial details of their joint lives. It will, therefore, be readily understood that my chief difficulty has been to compress the biography within reasonable limits' (I, pp. -''). However, his grandson maintained that, 'His general character stands out clearly, I venture to think, from the material which has been utilised; and, although from our relative ages it is impossible that I could have a personal knowledge of his private life until his later years, I can but repeat the unfailing testimony of his friends in regard to his charm of manner, his genial courtesy, and his kindness of heart. All this and a great deal more I have seen for myself' (I, p. '').