George Edwards (naturalist)
3 April 1694|
Stratford, Essex, England
23 July 1773 (aged 79)|
Plaistow, Essex, Great Britain
|Known for||Natural history writings and illustrations|
Edwards was born at Stratford, Essex. In his early years he travelled extensively through mainland Europe, studying natural history, and gained some reputation for his coloured drawings of animals, especially birds.
Librarian for the Royal College of Physicians
In 1733, on the recommendation of Hans Sloane, he was appointed librarian to the Royal College of Physicians in London. Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the British Museum, had employed George Edwards as a natural history painter for many years, and Edwards drew miniature figures of animals for him. Edwards visited Sloane once a week to share news and a coffee. Sloane kept track of Edwards's expenses and reimbursed him annually. Edwards served as College librarian for thirty-six years. He was chosen Fellow of the Royal Society and of the London Society of Antiquaries and was rewarded with the Copley Medal.
In 1743 Edwards published the first volume of his A Natural History of Uncommon Birds, the fourth volume of which appeared in 1751; three supplementary volumes, under the title Gleanings of Natural History, were issued in 1758, 1760 and 1764. The two works contain engravings and descriptions of more than 600 subjects in natural history not before described or delineated. He likewise added a general index in French and English, which was afterwards supplied with Linnaean names by Linnaeus himself, with whom he frequently corresponded.
The puffadder shyshark, first described by Edwards in 1760, is now named Haploblepharus edwardsii.
- Edwards, George (1743–1751). A Natural History of Uncommon Birds (Part I to IV). London: Printed for the author at the College of Physicians. Publication dates on title pages: Part I 1743, Part II 1747, Part III 1750, Part IV 1751
- Edwards, George (1758). Gleanings of Natural History. Part I. London: Printed for author at the Royal College of Physicians.
- Edwards, George (1760). Gleanings of Natural History. Part II. London: Printed for author at the Royal College of Physicians.
- Edwards, George (1764). Gleanings of Natural History. Part III. London: Printed for author at the Royal College of Physicians.
- Edwards, George (1770). Essays upon Natural History, and other miscellaneous subjects. London: Printed for J. Robson.
- Edwards, George (1776). Elements of Fossilogy. London: Printed by B. White.
- "Hill Collection — 18th c. British authors & artists". Ornithology Collections in the Libraries at Cornell University: A Descriptive Guide. Cornell University Library. 1999. Retrieved 2015-08-22.
- Holl, William; Wood, Neville; Mammatt, Edward, editor (1836). "Memoir of Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the British Museum". The Analyst. Simpkin and Marshall. 5: 3-20 [13-14].
- Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). "Edwards, G.". The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5.
- "Edwards, George (1694-1773)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Exhibition catalogue of the Royal College of Physicians, London
- Animal Base SUB Göttingen Link to digital version of Natural History of Birds
- Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture Natural History of Birds and Gleanings of Natural History.
- Gaedike, R.; Groll, E. K. & Taeger, A. 2012: Bibliography of the entomological literature from the beginning until 1863 : online database – version 1.0 – Senckenberg Deutsches Entomologisches Institut.