There is to be seen at about ten o'clock on most mornings, in one or other of the streets leading in a direct line from Waterloo-bridge to the British Museum, an elderly gentleman who walks as if his feet were very tender, and whom most of the persons he meets turn round to stare after. This is Professor Owen on his way to his favourite studies at the Museum, where he is superintendent of the Natural History departments.
Richard Owen, Fellow of the Royal Society, enjoys a European reputation as a comparative anatomist. He was born in Lancaster, in 1804, and educated at the University of Edinburgh. In 1826 he became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and nine years later was appointed Hunterian Professor and Conservator of the Museum at the College.
Among other works of importance which Mr. Owen has written may be mentioned 'Odontography' (published 1840); 'Memoir of a Gigantic Extinct Sloth,' 'Lectures on the Comparative Anatomy of the Invertebrate Animals' (1843); 'History of British Fossils, Mammals, and Birds.' 'On the Megatherium,' 'On the Gorilla,' 'On the Dodo,' are among his recent works; besides many other works on various branches of the science of which he is the greatest living exponent. Professor Owen has written many papers for the Transactions of the Royal and various other learned societies. Mr. Owen is a Chevalier of the Prussian Order of Merit, and in 1855 he was decorated by the Emperor Napoleon with the Cross of the Legion of Honour. He is one of the eight foreign members of the French Institute, and, besides, is a Fellow or Associate of every learned and scientific society of distinction at home and abroad.