THE IPSWICH COLLECTION During a holiday outing with grandchildren in 2011, Derek found his way to Ipswich Natural History Museum.They all set about drawing the stuffed beasts - the well-known mammoth, the rhino which was subsequently disfigured by thieves for its horn, and the many smaller creatures, such as the Numbat and the Jerboa. Not only are the animals fascinating. So is the history of the Collection itself. It was first opened in 1847 in a purpose-built home in Museum Street (which is now a cafe). George Ransome, of the Ipswich family of industrialists and engineers, was the main financial supporter. The second President (1850-1861) was the Reverend Professor John Stevens Henslow. His work at Cambridge brought him into close contact with Charles Darwin, whose book, The Origin of the Species, caused such a revolution in scientific thinking when it was published in 1859.
The new Museum, designed to educate and entertain the people of Ipswich in the story of life on earth, became a focus for exploring and debating the natural world. Meetings and lectures were attended by prominent members of the Victorian scientific community. In 1881 the Collection moved to its present home in the High Street. It now includes an important collection of stuffed birds, alongside exhibits on the geology and archeology of Suffolk and on other cultures from around the world. This success story of Victorian times inspired Derek to create an Animal Alphabet based entirely on the Collection. The series of 26 prints (etching and woodtype) has been bought by collectors as complete sets and also sold individually.
Bear and Rhinoceros were exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2013. The full set is also available as a small book and as a pack of 26 greetings cards. Title image: European Brown Bear, pen and watercolour sketch, 20 x 25 cms
European Brown Bear, etching and woodtype, 25 x 25 cms