William Swainson

1789 (London) – 1855 (Lower Hutt, New Zealand)

Rafinesque was met in Sicily, where Swainson and he worked together and became lifelong friends and correspondents. Audubon met and was befriended by Swainson on an extended stay in England; Swainson taught him the niceties of technical reproduction, they went to Paris and visited Cuvier together, but the friendship foundered when Audubon proposed that Swainson provide the scientific content of his ‘Birds of America’ without being credited (and at the same time give him house-room for some months). Lear was a friend. Joseph Hooker considered Swainson a first-rate naturalist, but said he was “as ignorant as a goose” about botany.

William Swainson knew…