Sir George Francis Hampson, 10th baronet (created in 1642) was educated at Exeter College, Oxford, where he graduated as Bachelor of Arts (BA). He travelled to India to become a tree planter and developed an interest in butterflies and moths. Upon his return to England he became a volunteer worker at the Natural History Museum and in 1895 was appointed as an assistant in its Department of Zoology, specialising in moths. He succeeded to his baronetcy in 1896 and in 1901 was promoted to acting assistant keeper. His Illustrations of heterocera (moths) was published by the museum in 1891-1893. This was followed by a five volume work, Moths, dealing with the moths of India, published from 1892 to 1937. His major work was the Catalogue of the Lepidoptera Phalaenae in the British Museum (13 volumes plus 2 supplementary volumes), which was published between 1898 and 1923. Other works included his Catalogue of the Amatidae and Arctiadae... in the collection of the British Museum (1914), and Descriptions of new genera and species of Lepidoptera Phalaenae (1926).
By 1900 Hampson had published some twenty papers, most dealing with the classification of lepidoptera and heterocera from India and elsewhere. Among them there was one, "On a collection of heterocera made in the Transvaal" (Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 1898, Vol. 1, pp. 158-164), that described six new species of moths collected by W.L. Distant* at Pretoria.
In 1899 the South African Museum submitted its collection of moths, regarded as very incomplete, to him for identification and description of new forms. By the end of that year he had already identified over 300 species. His results were published as "The moths of South Africa" (Parts 1-3) in the Annals of the South African Museum (1900, Vol. 2(3), 34pp.; 1902, Vol. 2(10), 192 pp.; 1905, Vol. 3(9), 50 pp.).