[From Manx Quarterly #20 1919]


Not scientists alone, but Manxmen all the world over revere the name of Edward Forbes, zoologist, geologist, and botanist, and those who have seen his books will have admired the clever drawings with which he illustrated them. In addition to representations of the animals described, he supplied vignettes and tail pieces to his chapters of a humorous chactacter. At the Forbes Centenary in London in 1915, Sir A. Geikie referred to the latter as " sea creatures creeping about among gnomes, elves, and fairies in all kinds of comical positions and employments" ; and Mr Whitaker, of the Geological Survey, said he remembered Forbes when President of the Geological Society making at intervals " very clever little sketches, and any one who secreted some of those sketches — and I believe some did — would have a great treasure." It so happens that I have just had the good fortune to receive some of these sketches as a present. They had been preserved in a scrap book which formerly belonged to one of Forbes' intimate friends, who was with him at the meetings referred to. Two of the sketches bear the inscription, "One of poor Edward Forbes's last dashes, Chair of Geol. Secn.. Brit. Assn., Liverpool, Sept. 25, 1854." Another is inscribed; " Thoughts on the Russian War Chair of Section C., Brit. Assn., Liverpool, Sept. 25, 1864." This depicts the Russian bear fighting a large bird, and at the foot of this is a comical sketch of a gnome, described by Forbes in his own handwriting as " an animal that have made Ornithicnites if he had chosen." The others are portrait sketches, one being of Omar Pasha. These were probably quite the last sketches made by Forbes, for he died within two months of the date they bear.



August 10th, 1918.


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