Tag Archives: 1910s

General de Lamothe: collection and collectors

General Léon de Lamothe (1849–1936) is a French geologist and malacologist whose collections are housed in Muséum d’Histoire naturelle in Grenoble. He brought together a large collection, building upon his father’s collection. Benjamin de Lamothe (1799–1884) was a colonel and we know he had collected molluscs himself, as evidenced by some labels (“collection de mon père et recueilli par lui”). This collection contained a few hundreds lots of specimens. His son Léon increased this collection by collecting especially in Algeria, when he was there in garrison during the 1910s. With an important network of conchologists, he practiced exchanges and purchases to constitute a worlwide collection that contained both marine and continental, with local and exotical species. L. de Lamothe worked in close cooperation with Philippe Dautzenberg (1849–1935), the most frequent name who appears in his collection. Dautzenberg gave him (or exchanged with him) many specimens, identified his samples and validated them before publication (e.g.: de Lamothe published some catalogues for the Algerian malacofauna, in particular Arzew and Mostaganem).


Another important collaborator of de Lamothe was the Commandant L. Morlet (1823–1892) who provided him with many exotical species.
The names of many other collectors can also be found in his collection: General Léon de Beylié (1849–1910), a patron for Musée de Grenoble (ethnology and archeology), Captain Le Chatelier, Marquis de Monterosato, Henri Gouin, Chaper, Darbois, Flamand, Sowerby, Newcombe, Smith, etc. He purchased molluscs from Vigné, Géret and most of all, Boulanger. Ancey is mentioned as a persons who performed the determinations. Finally a large serie of molluscs came from the Gruvel mission in 1909–1910 (with Chudeau along the coast of the West African) and another from “Germain’s mission in 1907” (probably the mission of Chudeau in Lake Chad).

[1] Annotated copy of L. de Lamothe’s work about marine malacology in MHNGr.


Two letters about the bequest of the collection Gaudion

Commandant Gaudion (1828–1902) was a patron for the Muséum d’histoire naturelle de Marseille. He brought together an important zoological collections from the Mediterannean area, therefore his name was inscribed on the marble plate of donators. Both his collection and books (Gaudion did not live in the city but in Béziers, and he needed an extensive library was required to determine what he collected) were given to the Museum of Marseille, for a total value of 10,000 French francs (in 1915).

Here shown are two letters [1] dated July 20, 1911 and November 30, 1911 concerning the bequest of the conchological collection of Gaudion.

Numériser 3

These letters were written by Vayssière, director of the Museum d’Histoire naturelle de Marseille to Mrs Gaudion about the legacy of her husband. From the letters it becomes clear that the collection (in 1911, nine years after the death of Gaudion) was almost completly arranged by Martial Couturier; he was another French conchologist and assistant-curator at the Muséum of Marseille. Vayssière proposed to return to Gaudion’s widow, a box with duplicates from his collection, which was not required by the Museum. The second letter in November specifically dealt with the adminitrative problem to extract from the legacy the series of duplicates which remained in Béziers. The words “installation de la salle Gaudion” (in Béziers) could refer to a project to create a litte room with Gaudion’s specimens, maybe at the Société d’étude des sciences naturelles de Béziers, which became Musée du Biterrois.

Fischer H. 1903. [Nécrologie]. H. Gaudion. Journal de Conchyliologie 51: 91–92.
Vayssière A. 1903. Notice biographique sur Henri Gaudion (1828-1902). Annales du Muséum d’Histoire naturelle de Marseille 8: 16–13, 1 pl. (portrait).
Vayssière A. 1915. Rapport sur la section de zoologie du Muséum. Annales du Muséum d’Histoire naturelle de Marseille 15: 3–7.

[1] Audibert C., private collection.