Item 3 - Letter from Brian Houghton Hodgson to the Trustees of the British Museum

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Letter from Brian Houghton Hodgson to the Trustees of the British Museum


  • 15 Dec 1844 (Creation)

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Dec 15 1844

To the Trustees of the British Museum

My Lords and Gentlemen,

With reference to my recent letter to your address relative to my zoological collections and researches I have the honor to inform you that, my immediate return to India having just been decided on, I conceive it to be on many accounts most desirable that I should carry back with me my original Drawings as well as my Notes and Memoranda, leaving only my finished series of drawings together with the whole of my specimens in the possession of the Museum to be appropriated and distributed as already proposed.

  1. Accordingly I now request that my first proposition to you, my Lords and Gents. may be modified upon this plan because, in order to enable me on my return to India to resume and complete my zoological researches with the greatest rapidity and effect I shall need the whole of my original drawings and Notes, while my departure is so near that no time is left for any further proceedings in conjunction with the proposed Nominee of the Museum than the transfer to him of the specimens; and, indeed, to ensure that transfer being satisfactorily made it had become indispensable that not a moment be lost in the selection and despatch to Canterbury of the said Nominee.
  2. I beg leave therefore to solicit an early decision upon this point; for the specimens to be disposed of are exceedingly numerous and valuable and have been collected at so great a cost that it is most desirable their dispersal should be adjusted as far as possible before my departure.
  3. Of the series of finished drawings which I propose to present to the Museum a considerable number have been lent to an Artist of the name of Howard who [proposed?] their publication but has now desisted from that intention I recommend that steps be immediately taken by the Museum to recover possession of these drawings which were lent to Mr. Howard after they had been deposited in the Museum to which they are now presented by me, their sole and absolute owner.
  4. The small portion of the series which is unfinished, shall be transmitted by me from India as soon as may be, it being no longer possible to have them finished in London as before suggested by me.
  5. I return to India with the full purpose of effectively completing those researches which my sudden departure thence so sadly interrupted, and, in order, to their completion in the most satisfactory manner, I beg leave to suggest that some competent officer of the Museum be placed in communication with me and be authorised and directed to be [concert/consort?] which was mentioned in the prior letter, it being my anxious wish still to carry out, with the sanction and support of the Trustees, the complete original idea of an Illustrated Fauna of Nepal and Tibet based on these drawings; and I would accordingly hereby solicit the separate favourable consideration of the Trustees for that eventual undertaking which with the patronage of the British Museum would be extensively aided by subscriptions in India where when by sudden departure dislocated all my plans these drawings had already attracted general admiration owing to their extraordinary Zoological accuracy and to the quality of collateral illustrations of the habits and manners as well as the structures of species which they embrace and the fruit of years of continuous toil aided by the unique and irrevocable opportunities

I have [the honor to be]
B.H. Hodgson
Late Minister at The Court of Nepal

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