The last Indian mail brought the sad news of the death, from malarial fever, of Mr. Lionel de Niceville, the eminent lepidopterist. For many years Mr. de Niceville worked unremittingly and enthusiastically at Eastern Lepidoptera, devoting special attention to the butterflies. His unrivalled knowledge, gained not only by a study of the literature of the subject, but by years of practical work and collecting in the field, he embodied in his well-known book, "The Butterflies of India, Burma, and Ceylon," which unfortunately he has not lived to finish. Numerous papers, however, in scientific journals testify to his industry and knowledge of Eastern butterflies. It is greatly to be regretted that only three volumes of 'The Butterflies' have been published. Vol. i. was written in collaboration with Col. G.F.L. Marshall; vols. ii. and iii. were written and published entirely by Mr. de Niceville. It was unfortunate that the volumes were only issued at long intervals, for, notwithstanding the popularity of butterflies with collectors, the work was published at a considerable pecuniary loss to the author.
Last year Mr. de Niceville accepted the post of Government Entomologist at the Indian Museum, and it was characteristic of him to enter on his work with the zeal and thoroughness he showed in all things. Indeed, his sad death is in a manner attributable to the keen sense of duty that led him, in spite of warnings from friends, as to the deadly unhealthiness of the Terai jungles in autumn, to proceed thither on purpose to investigate the ravages of insect-pests in the tea-gardens.
I do not attempt in this short notice any appreciation of Mr. de Niceville's scientific work; I write of him simply as a friend whose untimely loss I, in common with the scores of friends he had in India, deeply deplore.
I made Mr. de Niceville's acquaintance in 1888, and in the years that followed we were not only in constant correspondence, but he paid several visits to me in Burma. In 1891 he accompanied me for the first time into the forests in Tenasserim on a collecting trip, and a pleasanter fellow-traveller and more cheery companion it would be difficult to find. I shall never forget his almost boyish delight and enthusiasm on our first