This Day in History: 1854-07-26
George Brettingham Sowerby I (1788 – 26 July 1854) died on this day (coincidently his son, George Brettingham Sowerby II (1812 – 1884), also died on 26 July). He was a British conchologist and illustrator.
The second son of naturalist James Sowerby, he assisted his father in the production of illustrated works on natural history. Publications include about 50 papers on molluscs, the books A Conchological Manual (1839), Illustrated Index of British Shells (1859), and the most important work Thesaurus Conchyliorum (1847 – 87), a work that was continued by his son, George Brettingham Sowerby II and his grandson George Brettingham Sowerby III (1843–1921).
Given the size of the Sowerby family, 10 artists and naturalists in 4 consecutive generations, including three with the same name working on the same publication, it can be difficult to accurately attribute species. As a whole the family described more than 4,700 taxa.
Sowerby I is honoured in the names of a number of species under sowerbii, sowerbyi, and sowerbyana (names which may also be found honouring II and III).