- Sir Edward Belcher
- Also known as
Sir Edward Belcher
primary name: Belcher, Edward
- individual; collector; military/naval; British; Male
- Life dates
- Naval officer, hydrographer, explorer and writer, born in Nova Scotia. His family moved to England in 1811. Entered the navy in 1812 and in 1825 was appointed assistant surveyor to HMS Blossom on its three year voyage to the Bering Strait and the Pacific Ocean – including Pitcairn Island, home to some of the mutineers of the Bounty incident (1789) and their descendants. Following other naval and oceanographic survey voyages, in 1836 was appointed commander of the Sulphur. In what became an around-the-world voyage Belcher visited, and made observations on, several island groups in the South Pacific. Diverted to join the British fleet in the conflict with China, he returned to England in 1842, was knighted in 1843 and published a two volume Narrative of his world voyage in the Sulphur 1836 – 1842. Promoted to the rank of Admiral in 1870. Presented ethnographic and Chinese items to the British Museum between 1842 and 1855. He sold his collection on 10 June 1872, where Franks bought and gave some 150 objects to the Christy Collection (nos.8119 to 8276).
The Museum has around 280 objects collected by Belcher, of which 120 are from Oceania of which in turn 85 are from Melanesia – 2 from Vanuatu, the rest from New Guinea.
Alcock, R, ‘Obituary. – Sir E. Belcher’ Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Vol. 21, No. 5 (1876 - 1877), pp. 410 – 416
Jonathan King in 'Franks and Ethnography', in 'A W Franks', eds. Caygill & Cherry, 1997, p.152.