Arthur Stannard Vernay

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Arthur S. Vernay (May 11, 1877 - October 25, 1960) was a noted English art and antiques dealer, decorator, big game hunter and naturalist explorer.

Born in Weymouth, England, Vernay immigrated to New York early in the twentieth century, and found a job as an elevator operator at a furniture store known as A.J. Crawfords. After working there briefly, Vernay started his own shop in 1906, called Arthur S. Vernay, Inc. and located at 1 East 45th Street, near Madison Avenue. There he sold antiques and decorative arts to a number of important and influential New Yorkers including Ogden Codman, Jr., Elsie de Wolfe, Sir Charles Carrick Allom, Consuelo Vanderbilt, Francis Patrick Garvan, Benjamin Altman, Solomon R. Guggenheim, William Russell Grace, as well as leading art dealerships such as M Knoedler & Co, and the design firm Tiffany Studios.[1]

In the 1920s, Vernay grew increasingly interested in game hunting and naturalist exploration, and after offering to underwrite a museum collecting expedition led by Colonel John Champion Faunthorpe intended to enhance the American Museum of Natural History's collection of Southeast Asian animals, Vernay joined Faunthorpe into India in 1923. Eventually this expedition would culminate in the American Museum of Natural History's Vernay-Faunthorpe Hall of South Asiatic Mammals, which opened in 1930 and held mounted elephants shot by the collectors in Mysore.[2] His last expedition was to Africa in 1946.

Vernay later moved to Nassau, Bahamas, where he cultivated an orchid greenhouse, participated in environmental conservation efforts, co-founding the Bahamas National Trust. In the Bahamas, Vernay lived with his wife at their home, Los Cayos, and was part of an expatriat social community that included the Duke of Windsor and Duchess of Windsor, the Swedish entrepreneur Axel Wenner-Gren, and hosted the English author Ian Fleming when he visited the Bahamas in 1956 before writing both Dr. No and Thunderball.

The rodent genus Vernaya was named after him.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Business Papers of Arthur S. Vernay, Inc.". The Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Osborn, HF (1942). Proboscidea. Volume 2. New York: AMNH. p. 1311. 
  3. ^ Lunde, DP (2007). "MAMMALIAN SPECIES: Vernaya fulva." (PDF) 806. pp. 1–3. 

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