Artefact of the month - May 2009. Red panda drawings
Drawings of red panda dated 1852 in `Mammals of India’ by Brian Houghton Hodgson
These charming red panda sketches feature in Volume 1 of the manuscript volumes of Brian Houghton Hodgson, they are accompanied by his numerous notes and corrections. The sleeping red panda was described in November 1852. Hodgson states that it can be found in Nepal and Tibet. The notes include common name, scientific name, an anatomical description and a table with the animal’s measurements.
ZSL is fortunate in having 465 mammals illustrations in these volumes, this set of drawings was Hodgson’s personal copy which he used as a basis for his scientific studies and for his publications on Himalayan mammals. It is the earliest comprehensive study of Nepal mammals and an invaluable scientific record. ZSL holds a further 1,078 bird drawings in the Hodgson manuscripts
Nepal was virtually unknown to European at that time and Hodgson devoted the 23 years he was posted there to studying its peoples, customs, architecture, languages, religion and natural history. In natural history, he concentrated on bird and mammals of Nepal and the Himalayas. He wrote more than 140 zoological papers ranging from descriptions of single species to checklists of fauna. Hodgson observed animals at every opportunity
Further details about Hodgson can be found in the ZSL Library catalogue at
ZSL library catalogue
The Michael Marks Trust provided funding for the cataloguing of the artworks in ZSL's collections. An online catalogue to the artworks can be searched from the above link, Use the `Search artworks’ button on the sidebar. Please note that some artworks are catalogued as collections, not individually.
Other `Artefacts’ have featured works of Hodgson – the Chiru, a Tibet antelope Artefact of the month - May and his personal copy of the publication `Catalogue of the Specimens and Drawings of Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and Fishes of Nepal and Tibet, presented by B.H. Hodgson, Esq. to the British Museum’. Second Edition 1863. (Annotated by Hodgson) Artefact of the month - January 2008