Wallace statue to be erected at the Natural History Museum– and you can help! (Upcoming UK events with Dawkins et al.)

by Greg Mayer

As Wallace Year continues, events are coming fast and furious. One to look forward to on November 7 is the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue of Wallace in the garden outside the Darwin Centre 2 at the Natural History Museum in London. The statue, by sculptor Anthony Smith, will be unveiled by Sir David Attenborough on that date, which happens to be the 100th anniversary of Wallace’s death.

Sir David Attenborough and Anthony Smith with the Young Charles Darwin statue at Christ’s College Cambridge. Photograph by Richard Lewisohn, via Entangled Bank Events.

Sir David Attenborough and Anthony Smith with the Young Charles Darwin statue (by Smith) at Christ’s College Cambridge.
Photograph by Richard Lewisohn, via Entangled Bank Events.

Thanks to George Beccaloni, who has spearheaded Wallace celebration events at the Natural History Museum, we have learned of several ways in which you can support the ongoing efforts to fund the statue, which are being led by Entangled Bank Events and the Ancestor’s Trail on behalf of the Wallace Fund. If you are in the UK, there are two upcoming events, both featuring Richard Dawkins, the proceeds of which will benefit the statue fund raising efforts.

First, in connection with the Ancestor’s Trail event, there will be a day-long series of talks and performances at the Wills Memorial Building in Bristol on Saturday, August 24. Speakers include Richard Dawkins, and Peter Raby, author of the fine biography Alfred Russel Wallace: A Life (Princeton University Press, 2001). Ticket options and further details can be found at the Ancestor’s Trail website.

Second, another day-long series of science talks and performances, Consensus?, will be held in London on Saturday, November 16 at ExCel London. Speakers again include Richard Dawkins, along with famed paleontologist Richard Fortey and Wallace enthusiast, presenter, and comedian Bill Bailey. Check back at Entangled Bank Events for the announcement of when ticket sales will begin.

And finally, anyone, not just those in the UK, can contribute to the statue campaign directly through Entangled Bank (scroll to bottom).

Since I’ve got the attention of Wallace enthusiasts, I’ll note here that George Beccaloni has compiled a great many (all?) of the photos of Wallace, including not only the iconic ones you’ve seen before, but a great many others on one convenient Picasa album.


  1. Posted August 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks very much for posting this Greg – I am most obliged!

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Those photos on the Picassa site are really fantastic. I especially like the ones with his daughter. The “spirit” ones reminded me Victorians did such creepy things with photography (including photographing dead children posing with the family – sad and creepy).

  3. lanceleuven
    Posted August 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I’ve happily donated to the statue fund.

    I’d also like to take a moment to personally thank George Beccaloni for his fascinating input to the discussion of Wallace on this website. Regards.

    • Posted August 17, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Thanks very much indeed for both things Lance! And just for the record I’m certainly not anti-Darwin – I would not have persuaded the Natural History Museum in London (where I work) to purchase the world’s largest collection of Darwin-related books if I was! [although there was some good Wallace stuff in amongst them!]

      • lanceleuven
        Posted August 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        :-D, It’s all good mate. I didn’t think for a second you were anti-Darwin. Darwin is a legend; we all owe him a great deal. To me, this is simply about giving Wallace his rightful place in this fascinating story. These men gave us so much. And we owe it to them to respect them for it.

  4. Posted August 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Greg, thank you for your excellent write-up and, judging by your veritable forest of links, painstaking research!
    We are now finalising plans for the 16 Nov event at ExCel London. Ticket sales will commence very soon.
    You omitted Richard Wiseman from the list of presenters – he’s a well-known popular psychologist in the UK, with 145 million YouTube hits to his name. He’ll be talking about the psychology of why people believe impossible ‘facts’; which might just resonate with some of Richard Dawkins’ ideas! He is also an expert debunker of spiritualism, which offers an ideal opportunity to discuss some of Wallace’s more outlandish beliefs.
    The venue is capable of holding up to 7,000 people, so, with the line-up we now have, the atmosphere will be amazing. It’s never been done before!
    Thanks again, Mark.

  5. Allautin@gmail.com
    Posted August 17, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Still curious regarding Wallace’s privileging. the brain.

    Did he study on his own, or was he shown in debates (perhaps with Darwin) others (in regard to his position on human brain privileging) the known comparative neuroscience/neuroanatomy, neuroembrology, such as it was in the mid 19th century (And substantive work had been accumulated by that time in these area).

    The question again is (such as it is a question) what engagement did Wallace have with colleagues/Darwin in these areas.

    Was any such every recorded.

    Or did he just posit that the brain was to such and such (evolved beyond . . . )

    (I am aware, if there were, that he dismissed their possible import)

  6. Posted August 18, 2013 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    For anybody interested in attending the London ExCel event on 16 November 2103, please register your interest [here] (http://www.entangled-bank.co.uk/consensus.html), or email admin@entangled-bank.co.uk
    We’ll get back to you as soon as tickets go on sale, which won’t be long now!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 18, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      I’m assuming the date is 16 November 2013. I really do want immortality like Highlander but I doubt I’ll be able to get it. 🙂

      • Posted August 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        Hi Diana: You’re so impatient! OK, just for you, we’ll bring it forward 90 years to Nov 16th 2013 instead.
        I wonder if it will be 90 years before WordPress gets an ‘edit’ function for typos though?
        Mark 🙂

  7. Posted August 19, 2013 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    It might be worth mentioning that the names of major donors will be inscribed on a plaque on the base of the statue for all to see and that the names of ALL donors will be printed on acid-free paper and sealed in a stainless steel ‘time capsule’ which will be put into the hollow body of the statue. See http://wallacefund.info/statue enquiries about donations should be sent to Entangled Bank Events – see http://www.entangled-bank.co.uk/wallace-statue-campaign.html

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