Zoological Researches in Java & the Neighbouring Islands – Thomas Horsfield


Zoological Researches in Java & the Neighbouring Islands – Thomas Horsfield


Title: Zoological Researches in Java & the Neighbouring Islands

Author: Thomas Horsfield, John Bastin (memoir)

Publisher: Oxford University Press, Singapore, 1990. Scarce. Facsimile of very rare 1824 edition.

Condition: Hardcover, red cloth with slipcase. Some dings to slipcase and covers, otherwise very good. Hundreds of gorgeous illustrations of animal life in South-east Asia.

About the Author (from wikipedia):

Thomas Horsfield M. D. (May 12, 1773 – July 24, 1859) was an American physician and naturalist who worked extensively in Indonesia, describing numerous species of plants and animals from the region. He was later a curator of the East India Company Museum in London.

In 1790 he accepted a post as surgeon on the vessel China, a merchant vessel that was to sail to Java. He passed through Batavia and took a great interest in plants of medicinal value. In 1801 he applied as a surgeon with the Dutch Colonial Army in Batavia. Taking up appointment here, he took an interest in the flora, fauna and geology of the region. The East India Company took control of the island from the Dutch in 1811, and Horsfield began to collect plants and animals on behalf of the governor and friend Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. In 1816 Java was restored to the Dutch and Horsfield moved east to Sumatra. In 1819 he was forced to leave the island due to ill health and returned to London on board the Lady Raffles.

On returning to London, Horsfield continued to be in contact with Sir Stamford Raffles and became a keeper of the museum of the East India Company on Leadenhall Street, London working under Charles Wilkins. He stayed in this position, later as a curator, until his death on July 24, 1859. Horsfield took an interest in geology, botany, zoology as well as entomology. He was influenced by William Sharp Macleay and his quinarian system of classification. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1828) and a Fellow of the Linnean Society (1820), later becoming a vice-president. Horsfield was appointed assistant secretary of the Zoological Society of London at its formation in 1826. In 1833, he was a founder of what became the Royal Entomological Society of London. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1828. In 1838 he became correspondent of the Royal Institute of the Netherlands, when that became the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1851 he joined as foreign member. Horsfield died at his home in Camden Town and was buried at the Moravian cemetery in Chelsea.

Horsfield wrote Zoological Researches in Java and the Neighbouring Islands (1824). He also classified a number of birds with Nicholas Aylward Vigors, most notably in their A description of the Australian birds in the collection of the Linnean Society; with an attempt at arranging them according to their natural affinities (Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. (1827)). Together with the botanists Robert Brown and John Joseph Bennett he published the Plantae Javanicae rariores (1838–52).

Horsfield is commemorated in the names of a number of animals and plants, including:

Javanese Flying Squirrel, Iomys horsfieldii
Horsfield’s Fruit Bat, Cynopterus horsfieldi
Horsfield’s Shrew, Crocidura horsfieldi
Horsfield’s Bat, Myotis horsfieldii, a species of small bat in the family Vespertilionidae.
Horsfield’s flying gecko, Ptychozoon horsfieldi, a species of Asian gliding lizard.
Russian tortoise, Testudo horsfieldii
Horsfield’s spiny lizard, Salea horsfieldii, a species of agamid lizard found in southern India in the Nilgiri and Palni Hills.
Malabar Whistling Thrush, Myophonus horsfieldii, a bird found in peninsular India.
Indian Scimitar-babbler, Pomatorhinus horsfieldii, an Old World babbler found in peninsular India.
White’s Thrush (Horsfield’s Thrush), Zoothera horsfieldi, resident bird in Indonesia.
Oriental Cuckoo, Cuculus horsfieldi
Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx basalis
Common Darkie, Paragerydus horsfieldii, a small butterfly found in India.
Arhopala horsfieldi a butterfly of Lycaenidae family. It is found in Asia.
South Indian Blue Oakleaf, Kallima horsfieldi, nymphalid butterfly found in India.
Horsfieldia genus of plant in Family Myristicaceae native to South East Asia.