Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/112

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Curtis
Curwen
100

of which appeared in 1824, dedicated to Kirby. The work extended to sixteen volumes, and was completed in 1839 ; it appeared in 193 parts, with 770 plates exquisitely drawn, the figures of the rarer and more beautiful species being coloured, and in many instances the plants upon which they are found. In the production of this monumental work Curtis was greatly assisted by his friend J. C. Dale, with specimens, information, and pecuniary aid. In the ‘British Entomology’ Dale's name is on almost every page, and it was from his collection that Curtis derived a vast portion of the material from which his elaborate work was drawn up. The two worked hand in hand, and their names came to be considered synonyms.

Cuvier pronounced Curtis's ‘British Entomology’ to be ‘the paragon of perfection,’ but its success was much hindered by the attacks of James Francis Stephens [q. v.] in his ‘Illustrations of British Entomology’ and elsewhere. Curtis was defended by Dale in London's ‘Magazine of Natural History.’ In June 1825 Curtis and Dale made an expedition to Scotland, and in Edinburgh met Sir Walter Scott, arrayed in the uniform of the Scots royal bodyguard. After a tour which included some of the western islands, they returned to Edinburgh on August 20, having added more than thirty new species to the list of British insects. In 1830 Curtis visited France, and collected insects from Bordeaux to Fréjus with great results, investigating the quarries of Aix in Provence, where were obtained the fossil insects collected by Lyell and Murchison. Curtis's entomological collection was sold by auction and transported to Melbourne; but Dale's collection, on which he worked with his son, Mr. C. W. Dale, remains in this country, and ‘enables the student in many cases to verify Curtisian species that would be otherwise doubtful’ (Entomologists Monthly Magazine, viii. 255).

For many years Curtis made a special study of the habits and economy of the various species of insects injurious to garden and farm produce, and communicated the results of his investigations to the ‘Gardener's Chronicle’ under the signature ‘Ruricola,’ and to the ‘Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society.’ These were published in a volume entitled ‘Farm Insects: being the natural History and Economy of the Insects injurious to the Field Crops of Great Britain and Ireland, and also those which infest Barns and Granaries. With suggestions for their destruction. Illustrated with numerous engravings,’ Glasgow, 1860, 8vo ; 2nd edit. London, 1883. Curtis had been awarded, on 25 Nov. 1841, a civil list pension of 100l, which was increased by 50l. on 16 April 1861, when his eyesight failed through the strain of his microscopical investigations. He was president of the Entomological Society in 1855, one of the six honorary members of the Entomological Society of France, and a member of various other learned societies in Europe and America. Curtis died at Belitha Villas, Islington, London, on 6 Oct. 1862, leaving a widow and several children. His elder brother, Charles M. Curtis, who predeceased him, was employed by J. F. Stephens as his first artist in the earlier volumes of his ‘Illustrations of British Entomology.’

Besides the works referred to above Curtis wrote : 1. ‘A Guide to the arrangement of British Insects ; being a Catalogue of all the named species hitherto discovered in Great Britain and Ireland,’ London, 1829, 8vo ; 2nd edit. enlarged, London, 1837, 8vo. 2. ‘The Genera of British Coleoptera, transferred from the original figures in 256 plates of “British Entomology,”’ London, 1858, 4to. 3. ‘The Genera of British Lepidoptera, transferred from the original figures in 193 plates of “British Entomology,”’ London, 1858, 4to; and very numerous papers contributed to various scientific journals, the ‘Transactions’ of the Linnean and Entomological Societies, also an appendix on the insects of the Arctic region in Ross's ‘Journal.’

[Chambers's Norfolk Tour, 1829, introduction, p. 50; Freeman's Life of the Rev. W. Kirby, 1852, p. 426; Athenæum, 1862, ii. 462; Notice sur John Curtis, by J. 0. Westwood in Annales de la Société Entomologique de France, 4th ser. tome 3, trimestre de 1863 ; private information.]

J. H.-r.


CURWEN, HENRY (1845-1892), Anglo-Indian journalist and author, was descended from the Curwens of Workington Hall, a well-known family in Cumberland. He was son of Henry Curwen, rector of Workington, a younger son of Henry Curwen (1783-1860) of Workington, by Dora, daughter of General Goldie, and was born at Workington Hall in 1845. He was educated at Rossall School, and then settled for a time in London, where he worked for John Camden Hotten [q. v.], the publisher. He had a chief hand in compiling several books which bear only the publisher's name on the title-page. Among these was the ‘Golden Treasury of Thought.’ His first literary production under his own name was a volume of translations of French poetry called ' Echoes from French Poets,’ and published by Hotten in August 1870. It