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Abalone shell collected by George Peard

Abalone shell collected by George Peard

Lieutenant George Peard

Lieutenant George Peard collected shells, birds and minerals during his voyage of discovery on HMS Blossom.

On the 19th of May 1825 the HMS Blossom set sail from Spithead in Hampshire on a voyage of discovery to the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Straits. She was captained by the geographer Commander Frederick William Beechey. His mission was to explore these little known waters and to rendezvous with two other ships commanded by Captains Parry and Franklin who were conducting Arctic missions and attempting to reach the Bering Straits by new routes.

Also on board the Blossom was the naturalist George Peard who held the rank of Lieutenant. During this voyage he collected shells, birds, minerals and ethnographic objects including coins and Eskimo weapons, wherever the Blossom made port. The shells and minerals were well documented and most were identified. Peard even had a text written by the taxonomist Lamarck to help him identify the shells he found, which would have been unusual that time.

Family members, including his son who was born in Exminster, donated material from Peard’s collection to the Museum in 1916 and 1938.

Among the shells donated to RAMM are six abalone shells. The one pictured was collected along America’s pacific coast somewhere between California and the Baja Peninsula. Others came from as far afield as the seas around Japan: Peard’s field notes mention that one particular specimen was collected on the Loochoo Islands (now known as the Ryukyu Islands) in 1827.

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