S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Verreaux, Mr Joseph Alexis (zoological collection)

Born: Date not known, France.
Died: 4 August 1868, Cape Town, South Africa.

J. Alexis Verreaux, taxidermist and naturalist, was the younger brother of P. Jules Verreaux* and J.B. Edouard Verreaux*. Alexis accompanied Edouard to the Cape of Good Hope to join their brother Jules, arriving on 27 September 1832. He received official permission to stay in the colony later that same year. Edouard left again the next year, but Alexis remained in Cape Town, where he and Jules collected natural history specimens and practiced as taxinermists. Among others they helped to mount the zoological specimens that the expedition led by Dr Andrew Smith* brought back from the interior in 1836. Jules returned to Paris in 1838, but Alexis remained. At this time he appears to have had a flourishing taxidermy practice in the Eastern Cape. In 1855 he was living in Durban, but during the eighteen-fifties also mounted birds and mammals for the South African Museum. At some time he managed an amunition shop in Cape Town, but continued to send natural history specimens to the family business in Paris until his death in 1868. It is almost certain that he mounted the sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) discovered and brought to Cape Town by the hunter W.C. Harris*. This specimen was sent to the Zoological Society of London in October 1837 and was described in its Proceedings the next year.

List of sources:
Berlioz, J. Les premieres recheches 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.

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

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Verreaux, Joseph Alexis / Verreaux, Alexis.

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