Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888)
As a boy Philip Henry Gosse was encouraged to explore the sea-life around Poole. This passion stayed with him for the rest of his life. Later he worked in Newfoundland and Canada before becoming a schoolmaster in Dallas, Alabama. His skills as a zoologist later took him on a collecting expedition to Jamaica.
In 1849 he became ill. This led him to move to St Marychurch, South Devon, and later to Ilfracombe. It was here that he began to research and write about the marine life of rocky shores. In ‘A Naturalist’s Rambles’ on the Devonshire Coast he described how to keep a marine aquarium. This proved particularly popular with the Victorian public.
Gosse tried to reconcile the Bible and Darwin’s theories. His efforts were ill received. This, coupled with the death of his wife, left him rather depressed and he returned to find solace in St Marychurch. He went on to complete what many consider his greatest work on British sea anemone.
RAMM has many examples of Gosse’s accurate scale drawings and attractive chalked lecture slides. Some of these correspond to plates from his publications.