Robert Allan (mineralogist)

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Robert Allan FRSE FGS (1806-1863) was a British advocate, stockbroker and amateur mineralogist.[1] He was author of A Manual of Mineralogy which set a benchmark within this field.


The grave of Robert Allan, Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh

He was born in Edinburgh on 12 October 1806, the son of Thomas Allan. He attended the High School in Edinburgh, and then studied Law at Edinburgh University.

In 1822 he met the German mineralogist Wilhelm Haidinger during his visit to Edinburgh, and who (together with his father) greatly influenced his views. All three were friends and went together on mineral-hunting expeditions both in Britain and in Europe.[2]

In 1828 he was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society due to his contributions to mineralogy. He was admitted an advocate at the Scottish Bar in 1829. In 1832 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposer was James Crawford Gregory.[3]

He died on 6 June 1863 at home at 4 Hillside Crescent in the Calton district of Edinburgh. He is buried in Dean Cemetery. The grave lies at the beginning of the narrow south-west spur. His wife Matilda Allan (1808-1872) lies with him.

He had inherited his father’s mineral collection in 1833 and in later life sold their joint collection to Robert Greg who on his own death passed the vast and important collection to the British Museum where it now forms a major portion of the mineral collection.[2]

His grandson was the agriculturalist, Sir Robert George Allan FRSE (1879-1972).


  • A Manual of Mineralogy (1834)
  • An Elementary Treatise on Mineralogy (1837) a revision of William Philip’s work


  1. ^ The Edinburgh Journal of Science vol 6 (1826)
  2. ^ a b "The Mineralogical Record - Label Archive". Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  3. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.