S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Verreaux, Mr Jean Baptiste Edouard (zoological collection)

Born: September 1810, Paris, France.
Died: 14 March 1868, Paris, France.

J.B. Edouard (sometimes Edward, in English) Verreaux, French ornithologist, taxidermist and dealer in natural history specimens, was a brother of P. Jules Verreaux* and J. Alexis Verreaux*. On 6 July 1830 Edouard arrived at the Cape of Good Hope to help his brother Jules mount zoological specimens and pack the latter's large collection of natural history specimens. He clearly intended staying at the Cape for some time, for he was granted official permission to stay in 1830 and on 29 December that year he was elected a member of the South African Institution. However, after about a year he returned to Paris with Jules's collection. It was first displayed at the galleries of Baron Delessert and then sold. At this time Edouard was joint author with Jules of L'Oc?anie en estampes, ou Description geographique et historique de toutes les ?les de Grand oc?an et du continent da la Nouvelle Hollande (Oceania in engravings, or geographical and historical description of all the islands of the great ocean and the continent of New Holland; Paris, 1832). Edouard then returned to the Cape with his brother Alexis, arriving on 27 September 1832. While Alexis remained at the Cape with Jules, Edouard left again in 1833. He visited Sumatra, Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia), the Phillipines, China, Cochin China (southern Vietnam), and on the return journey Mauritius. Upon his return to Paris in 1834 he re-established the firm Maison Verreaux (House of Verreaux), a renowned family business originally established by their father, that dealt in natural history specimens. Jules joined him in the firm in 1838. The two brothers were master taxidermists and the firm became well known for its life-like mountings of mammals and birds.

Edouard published (in French) a catalogue of the natural history specimens that he had available in Paris (1833) and a catalogue of the birds available at the Maison Verreaux (1834); also a monograph containing a systematic classification of the hummingbirds (family Trochilidae, 1866) and an account of the natural history of the hummingbirds (1876-1877), both as joint author with Jules Verreaux and E.M. Mulsant; and, as joint author with Jules, about ten papers in which new bird species from various countries were described (1851-1857). The southern African bird species Guttera edouardi (Crested Guineafowl) still carries his name, while Aquila Verreauxii (Verraux's Eagle) was named after him and his brother Jules.

List of sources:
Berlioz, J. Les premieres recherches ornithologiques Francaises en Afrique du Sud. The Ostrich, 1959, Supplement 3, pp. 300-302.

Clinning, C. Southern African bird names explained. Johannesburg: Southern African Ornithological Society, 1989.

Dictionary of South African biography, Vol. 2, 1972, P. Jules Verreaux.

Hockey, P.A.R., Dean, W.R.J. & Ryan, P.G. Roberts birds of southern Africa (7th ed.) Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, 2005.

Kilburn, R. & Rippey, E. Sea shells of southern Africa. Johannesburg: Macmillan, 1982.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Verreaux, Edward.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Notices of the Proceedings of the South African Institution. South African Quarterly Journal, 1831, No. 5, pp. 102-111.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers [1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

Summers, R.F.H. A history of the South African Museum, 1825-1975. Cape Town: Balkema, 1975.

Winterbottom, J.M. & Clancey, P.A. The development of ornithology in South Africa. Lantern, September 1964, Vol. 14(1), pp. 13-22.

Compiled by: C. Plug