Nature 11, 74-74 (26 November 1874) | doi:10.1038/011074a0



ORNITHOLOGISTS will learn with regret that Sir William Jardine, Bart., died, after a few days' illness, at Sandown, in the Isle of Wight, on Saturday last, the 21st of November, aged 74. The labours of the deceased baronet extend over nearly half a century. In 1825 he commenced, in conjunction with the late Mr. Selby, of Twizell, the publication of the “Illustrations of Ornithology,”which seems to have been his earliest contribution to natural history, and almost immediately became recognised as one of the leading zoologists in Scotland, if not in the United Kingdom. In 1833 he undertook a still more important work, “The Naturalist’s Library,” forty volumes of which appeared in the course of the next ten years, and served to popularise in a most remarkable manner zoological knowledge among classes to whom it had hitherto been forbidden through the high price of illustrated works. With this publication, though its value may have been impaired by the progress of science, Sir William’s name will always be identified; for, having as contributors Selby, Swamson, Hamilton Smith, Robert Schomburgk, Duncan, William Macgillivray, and others, he was yet not only the author of a large proportion of the volumes, but to each he prefixed the life of some distinguished naturalist. Of his labours, however, we cannot now speak in detail; it is sufficient to notice his excellent edition of Alexander Wilson’s “American Ornithology,” the establishment of the “Magazine of Zoology and Botany” (afterwards merged in the “Annals of Natural History”), and of the “Contributions to Ornithology” Sir William’s expedition, with his friend Selby, in 1834, to Sutherlandshire—a country then less known to naturalists than Lapland—gave a great impulse to the study of the British fauna and flora, and almost marks an epocn in the history of biology in this island. Though ornithology was his favourite pursuit throughout life, Sir William was not merely an ornithologist—other classes of the animal kingdom had a fair share of his attention, and he was a recognised authority on all points of ichthyology. Botany and geology were also studied by him to advantage, and the science last named he enriched by his splendid “Ichnology of Annandale,” the chief materials of which were found on his own ancestral estate. With all this he was l keenly addicted to field-sports, and a master equally of the rod and the gun. Sir William married first a daughter of Mr. David Lizars. of Edinburgh, and by her had a numerous family, of whom the eldest daughter was married to the late Hugh Edwin Strickland, F.R.S. After Lady Jardine’s death he married the daughter of the Rev. W. Symons, the well-known geologist. Sir William Jardine was a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, as well as of many other learned bodies, and, until the last few years, was a constant attendant at the meetings of the British Association, in the affairs of which he had interested himself from its foundation.