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Prideaux John Selby

Prideaux John Selby was born in Northumberland in 1788. He made coloured drawings and descriptions of local birds from an early age. He attended Durham Grammar School and matriculated at University College in 1806, but left a few terms later. He returned to Northumberland, where he played an active role in the political and social life of his community. Between 1821 and 1833 his main work, Illustrations of British Ornithology, was published in 19 parts.

Between 1825 and 1841, Selby worked with Sir William Jardine on their joint volume Illustrations of Ornithology (1836-43). In 1826 he became a fellow of the Linnean Society. He was elected an honorary member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1827, and exhibited several paintings. He was a founder of the Magazine of Zoology and Botany in 1836. Selby had a detailed knowledge of arboriculture and planted many varieties at Twizell House. He published A History of British Forest Trees Indigenous and Introduced (1841-2). He died at Twizell House in 1867.


Jackson, Christine E. ‘Selby, Prideaux John (1788-1867)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2006) [ accessed 28 June 2009]

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