White, Taylor, 1701-1772

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White, Taylor, 1701-1772

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1701-1772

History

Taylor White FRS (21 December 1701 – 27 March 1772) was a British jurist, naturalist, and collector. A Fellow of the Royal Society, he was also a founding governor of the Foundling Hospital in London and served as its treasurer for many years. Beginning in the 1730s, White began to assemble a “paper museum”. He commissioned a number of artists, in particular Peter Paillou (from a French Huguenot émigré family in London) and Charles Collins (an Irish painter of still lifes and animals) to paint mammals, reptiles, fish and birds. He was also an avid collector of botanical drawings, and commissioned works from both Jacob van Huysum and the celebrated Georg Dionysius Ehret.

Taylor White’s extensive collection of bird and animal skins, live and mounted specimens, curiosities, and his collection of original drawings, was well known in his time. He was a member of a network of naturalists and amateurs that included Sir Hans Sloane (founder of the British Museum), Thomas Pennant (the first zoogeographer), Joseph Banks (explorer and President of the Royal Society), and George Edwards (author and artist). He left little correspondence and few publications. His collection of watercolours of animal specimens, from his and others’ collections, was preserved by the White family until 1927, when the zoological drawings and his manuscript catalogue were acquired by Dr. Casey Wood for what is now the Blacker Wood Collection

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