Paintings and sculptures

By George Beccaloni

Paintings & Drawings


The Natural History Museum's portrait of Wallace. ©The Natural History Museum, London

 

  • Portrait in oils by Evstafieff of Wallace as a young man in the Malay Archipelago sitting at a table with two bird-of-paradise specimens on it. This painting now belongs to English Heritage and is/was at Down House, Kent.

Wallace in the Malay Archipelago. A painting by Evstafieff in the collection of Down House. © English Heritage Photo Library.
Wallace in the Malay Archipelago. A painting by Evstafieff in the collection of Down House. © English Heritage Photo Library

Painting of Wallace in Linnean Society
Portrait of Wallace in the Meeting Room of the Linnean Society of London.

Sculptures

  • Oval medallion, in plaster (279 mm x 232 mm), in the National Portrait Gallery, London, (NPG 1764) of Wallace's head and shoulders in profile facing right (note that "Russel" is misspelled). This was made by Albert Bruce-Joy (1842-1924) in 1906 and modeled from photographs and from life. It was donated by Wallace's children William and Violet in 1916. This is most similar to the silver medallion of Wallace displayed at the Royal Academy in 1908 (see below, and note the detail of the beard). However, it is also very close to the bronze and silvered copper versions listed below. Also see here.


Plaster medallion owned by National Portrait Gallery (NPG 1764). © National Portrait Gallery, London.
 

  • Oval medallion, in bronze, 260 mm x 215mm in the Linnean Society of London of Wallace's head and shoulders in profile facing right. Made by Albert Bruce-Joy and donated in 1916 by Rev. James Marchant on behalf of the Alfred Russel Wallace Memorial Fund. On 18 December 2009 a bronze replica of this medallion was unveiled at the Richard Hale School in Hertford (click HERE). It hangs near the door into the school dining room. This door, made in 1667 was the original main door to the old Hale's Grammar School building (Wallace's old school). Note that the Linnean's medallion was stolen in 20??, but the Society managed to obtain another copy of it, which looks very similar to the Wellcome's medallion. More details to follow.
     

Medallion in Linnean Society 
Medallion in Linnean Society.

  • Oval medallion by Albert Bruce-Joy of Wallace's head and shoulders in profile facing right,  in the Wellcome Library, London (object number ICV No 18440). This medallion appears to be identical to the example in the Linnean Society. The Wellcome Library catalogue says it is made from plaster, but it looks like bronze.

Medallion in Wellcome Library
Medallion in Wellcome Library

  • A silver version of Bruce-Joy's medallion of Wallace (possibly smaller) was displayed at the Royal Academy and other venues in Britain in 1908 [see this link]. In the footnote to a letter to his son William dated May 17th 1908 (NHM library finding number WP1/1/140) Wallace says "Mr Bruce-Joy has just written to tell me that his medallion of me, in silver is in the R.A. this year & well shown. If you go through London & have time you had better go & see it."
     


Photograph from Black & White magazine, May 30, 1908, p. 682, of a silver medallion of Wallace
by Albert Bruce-Joy which was displayed at the Royal Academy in 1908.

 

  • An electrotype copy (probably made of silvered copper) of a small (73mm in height) version of the bronze medallion above is owned by the Wallace family. Curiously, the inscription seen above the portrait on the larger versions is faintly visible, but either has not copied well or has been deliberately removed. A mould of this object was made in 2013 by the Wallace Memorial Fund in collaboration with Cranfield's Cabinet of Curiosities and a number of copies were cast in bronze and sterling silver. These are the Memorial Fund's bronze and silver Wallace Medals, which the Fund awards for outstanding contributions to Wallace scholarship or the public understanding of his life and work. On November 7th 2013 (the 100th anniversary of Wallace's death) silver medals were presented by the Fund to Sir David Attenborough and Bill Bailey in recognition of their important contributions to the public understanding of Wallace's life and work during the anniversary year. Note that we believe this object to have been produced by electrotyping as it has characteristic small round nodules of metal on its back.


Small silver medallion owned by Wallace family. Copyright: G. W. Beccaloni.
 

  • Circular medallion, in white marble, of Wallace's head and shoulders in profile facing left (a mirror image of Wallace), in Westminster Abbey in the North Aisle of the Choir, between those of Charles Darwin and Joseph Lister. It is inscribed "ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE 1823-1913". This was commissioned by the Wallace Memorial Committee and carved by Albert Bruce-Joy, who based it on the earlier medallion he had made of Wallace facing right. It was unveiled on 1st November 1915. For more information CLICK HERE.


The Westminster Abbey medallion. This photograph was taken c. 1915. Scanned  from an original
print owned by the Wallace family. Copyright of scan: A. R. Wallace Memorial Fund & G. W. Beccaloni.

 

  • Circular medallion, in plaster (some damage), in the Natural History Museum, London, of Wallace's head and shoulders facing left (55 cm in diameter (including the outer rim) and 5 cm thick). This was made by Albert Bruce-Joy in 1914 and is inscribed: ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE - 1906" and signed "1914 A. Bruce-Joy St(?)." Thackery (1995) states "Provenance: Unknown, but in the Museum since at least 1931. There is a bronze version at the Linnean Society and a plaster copy at the National Portrait Gallery." Note that this medallion is similar but different to the marble medallion in Westminster Abbey. The medallion in the National Portrait gallery is much smaller, was made earlier, and depicts Wallace facing right, rather than left, as does the medallion in the Linnean Society. The Wallace Memorial Fund's resin bronze plaques are casts of this medallion.

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Resin bronze replica of Natural History Museum's plaster medallion. Copyright G. Beccaloni
 

  • Bust, in plaster, in the Natural History Museum, London. It was made by W. Watagin in 1958. It depicts the head and shoulders of Wallace as a young man, facing forward, wearing a coat. It is inscribed: W. W. 1958 Moscow. Thackery (1995) states "Provenance: Presented by the Museum Darwinianum, Moscow, through Professor A. E. Kohts, in 1959. Notes: Uniform with the bust of Darwin by Watagin." [This bust can't currently be found]
  • The plaster model for the obverse of the Linnean Society's Darwin-Wallace medal, showing the "Bust of Alfred Russell [sic] Wallace to front, bearded. Inscribed LINN: SOC: LONDON: 1858-1908 WALLACE and F. BOWCHER 1908. Diameter 174 mm, thickness 16 mm" is in the British Museum (BM-2004,0107.22-Coins-Medals).
  • Statue in bronze of Wallace looking up at a bronze model of a golden birdwing butterfly by Anthony Smith. This was commissioned by the Wallace Memorial Fund and given to the London Natural History Museum, where it was unveiled by Sir David Attenborough on November 7th 2013 - the 100th anniversary of Wallace's death. An image of the statue taken in November 2013 by Anthony Smith is shown below.

Statue of Wallace. Copyright Anthony Smith.

  • Bronze bust of Wallace by sculptor Anthony Smith. Unveiled at the National Botanic Garden of Wales on May 15th 2015.


Copyright Edward Cooper

References

Slotten, Ross A. 2004. The Heretic in Darwin's Court: The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace. New York: Columbia University Press. 602 pp.

Thackray, J. C. A. (1995). A catalogue of portraits, paintings and sculpture at the Natural History Museum, London. (Historical Studies in the Life and Earth Sciences No. 3). Mansell, London. 70pp.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith