Fellows, Charles (DNB00)
|←Fellowes, Thomas||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 18
FELLOWS, Sir CHARLES (1799–1860), traveller and archæologist, son of John Fellows, a banker and a gentleman of fortune, was born at Nottingham in August 1799, and when only fourteen illustrated a trip to the ruins of Newstead Abbey by sketches which twenty-five years afterwards appeared on the title-page of Moore's ‘Life of Byron.’ In early life he travelled through a great part of Britain, and in 1820 settled in London, where he became an active member of the British Association. On 25 July 1827, in company with Mr. William Hawes, he made the thirteenth recorded ascent of Mont Blanc, and took a new route to the summit, which has since been generally used. After the death of his mother in 1832 he passed the greater part of the next ten years in Italy or Greece, or on the shores of the Levant. On 12 Feb. 1838 he landed at Smyrna, whence his explorations in part of the interior of Asia Minor led him to districts unknown to Europeans, and he thus discovered the ruins of a number of cities which existed earlier than 300 B.C. Entering Lycia he explored the river Xanthus from the mouth at Patara upwards. Nine miles from Patara he found the ruins of Xanthus, the ancient capital of Lycia. About fifteen miles further up he came upon the ruins of Tlos. After taking sketches of the most interesting objects, and copying a number of inscriptions, he returned to England, where his publication of ‘A Journal written during an Excursion in Asia Minor,’ London, 1839, created such an amount of interest that Lord Palmerston, at the request of the trustees of the British Museum, applied to the sultan of Turkey for permission to bring away a number of the Lycian works of art. Late in 1839 Fellows again set out for Lycia, accompanied by George Scharf, who assisted him in sketching. The result of this second visit was the discovery of thirteen ancient cities, all containing works of art, but permission could not be obtained from the Porte for the removal of any of the monuments or sculptures. In 1841 appeared ‘An Account of Discoveries in Lycia, being a Journal kept during a second Excursion in Asia Minor. By C. Fellows.’ In October 1841, at the request of the authorities of the British Museum, he set out on his third expedition. Difficulties, however, again ensued, and he was obliged to repair to Constantinople to make a personal application for another firman. The English government moreover had entirely neglected to provide funds for the expenses of the inland travelling, and Fellows, to prevent great waste of time, advanced the money to enable the workmen to proceed. The party landed at the mouth of the Xanthus river on 26 Dec., and in June 1842 seventy-eight cases of architectural remains and beautiful sculptures were sent to Malta. In the fourth and most famous expedition in 1844 he had the management of a large party, consisting of a hundred men from the royal navy, stonecutters from Malta, men from Rome for taking casts, carpenters, interpreters, &c., and twenty-seven additional cases were forwarded to England. These valuable remains, which added much to our knowledge of ancient architecture and sculpture, are now exhibited in the entrance hall and in the Archaic room at the British Museum.
The most noteworthy places illustrated by these relics are Xanthus, Pinara, Patara, Tlos, Myra, and Olympus. In 1844 Fellows presented to the museum his portfolios, accounts of his expeditions, and specimens of natural history illustrative of Lycia.
In consequence of some misstatements which had appeared in print, Fellows in 1843 published a pamphlet entitled ‘The Xanthian Marbles, their Acquisition and Transmission to England.’ In translating and elucidating the inscriptions in the first of his journals he was assisted by James Yates; in those of the second by Daniel Sharpe, president of the Geological Society. On 7 May 1845 he was knighted by the queen at St. James's Palace, ‘as an acknowledgment of his services in the removal of the Xanthian antiquities to this country.’ In all the expeditions he paid his own expenses, and never at any time received any pecuniary reward from the nation. During the latter part of his life he resided in the Isle of Wight, occupying his time with agricultural pursuits. He died at 4 Montagu Place, Russell Square, London, 8 Nov. 1860. He married first, 25 Oct. 1845, Eliza, only daughter of Francis Hart of Nottingham; she died 3 Jan. 1847; and secondly, 22 June 1848, Harriet, widow of William Knight of Oaklands, Hertfordshire; she died 19 March 1874.
Besides the works already mentioned Fellows was the author of: 1. ‘A Narrative of an Ascent to the Summit of Mont Blanc,’ 1827. 2. ‘Lycia, Caria, Lydia, illustrated by G. Scharf, with descriptive letterpress by C. Fellows.’ Part i. 1847. No more published. 3. ‘An Account of the Ionic Trophy Monument excavated at Xanthus,’ 1848. 4. ‘Travels and Researches in Asia Minor, more particularly in the Province of Lycia,’ 1852. 5. ‘Coins of ancient Lycia before the Reign of Alexander, with an Essay on the relative Dates of Lycian Monuments in the British Museum,’ 1855.[Gent. Mag. January 1861, pp. 103–4; Encyclopædia Britannica (1879), ix. 67; C. Brown's Lives of Nottinghamshire Worthies (1882), pp. 352–3; W. Hawes's Narrative of an Ascent of Mont Blanc (1828), ed. by Sir B. Hawes; Journal of Royal Geogr. Soc. (1861), xxxi. pp. cxxii–iii.]