fossils with the collections of recent plants.’ Provision for such an arrangement is clearly indicated in all the early plans for the building in which the space for the different subjects is allocated, but not a trace of it remained in the final disposition of the contents of the museum as Owen left it in 1883.
Another essential feature of Owen's original plan, without which, he says, ‘no collection of zoology can be regarded as complete,’ was a gallery of physical ethnology, the size of which he estimated (in 1862) at 150 ft. in length by 50 ft. in width. It was to contain casts of the entire body, coloured after life, of characteristic parts, as the head and face, skeletons of every variety arranged side by side for facility of comparison, the brain preserved in spirits, showing its characteristic size and distinctive structures, &c. ‘The series of zoology,’ he says, ‘would lack its most important feature were the illustrations of the physical characters of the human race to be omitted.’
An adequate exhibition of the cetacea, both by means of stuffed specimens and skeletons, also always formed a prominent element in his demand for space. ‘Birds, shells, minerals,’ he wrote, ‘are to be seen in any museum; but the largest, strangest, rarest specimens of the highest class of animals can only be studied in the galleries of a national one.’ And again: ‘If a national museum does not afford the naturalist the means of comparing the cetacea, we never shall know anything about these most singular and anomalous animals.’
When, however, the contents of the museum were finally arranged, nominally under his direction, physical anthropology was only represented by a few skeletons and skulls placed in a corner of the great gallery devoted to the osteology of the mammalia, and the fine series of cetacean skeletons could only be accommodated in a most unsuitable place for exhibition in a part of the basement not originally destined for any such purpose. The truth is that the division of the museum establishment into four distinct departments, each with its own head, left the ‘superintendent’ practically powerless, and Owen's genius did not lie in the direction of such a reorganisation as might have been effected during the critical period of the removal of the collections from Bloomsbury and their installation in the new building. Advancing age also probably indisposed him to encounter the difficulties which inevitably arise from interference with time-honoured traditions. At length, at the close of the year 1883, being in his eightieth year, he asked to be relieved from the responsibilities of an office the duties of which he had practically ceased to perform.
Apart from his duties at the museum, Owen had since 1856 maintained close relations with the royal family and with many prominent contemporaries. In April 1860 he lectured to the royal children by the prince consort's request at Buckingham Palace. In March and April 1864 he lectured before the queen, the king of the Belgians, and the royal family at Windsor, and in 1889 he was much gratified by the queen's expression of her wish that his family should reside at Sheen Lodge after his death. Among other influential friends were Lord John Russell, whom he frequently visited at Pembroke Lodge, Prince Charles Lucien Bonaparte, Charles Dickens, Jenny Lind, George Eliot, G. H. Lewes, Sir Henry Acland, Sir Edwin Chadwick, Sir James Paget, Mr. Ruskin, and Lord Tennyson. In 1857 he saw much of Livingstone, and helped him with his ‘Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa,’ writing in his private diary ‘Poor Livingstone, he little thought what it was to write a book till he began.’ In this year moreover he was awarded a distinction that he had greatly coveted, the ‘Prix Cuvier’ of the French Academy. In August 1860, being then 56 years of age, he visited Switzerland, and made the ascent of the Cime de Jazi. In 1869 his health gave symptoms of decline, and as the guest of Sir John Fowler, he made a first visit to Egypt, in the party of the Prince and Princess of Wales, and under the guidance of Sir Samuel Baker. He repeated the visit in 1871, in 1872, when he met Emerson at Cairo, and in 1874, when he had some intercourse with ‘Chinese Gordon.’ He had refused the presidency of the Geological Society in 1871, and was created a C.B. at the instance of Mr. Gladstone in 1873.
The nine remaining years of Owen's life, subsequent to his retirement from the museum (1883–1892), were spent in peaceful retirement at Sheen Lodge, an ideal residence for one who had such a keen enjoyment of the charms of nature in every form, for, though so large a portion of his active life had been passed among dry bones, anatomical specimens, microscopes, and books, he retained a genuine love for outdoor natural history, and the sight of the deer and other animals in the park, the birds and insects in the garden, the trees, flowers, and varying aspects of the sky filled him with enthusiastic admiration. One of his favourite occupations there resulted in the publication in 1883 of ‘Notes on Birds in my Garden.’ He also had his library around him, and the habit of strenuous work never deserted him till failing memory and