Letters of Joseph Pentland (1797-1873), explorer, to Reverend William Buckland (1784-1856), geologist, 1820-1822

Scope and Content

The correspondence covers the period 1820-22 when Pentland was working in the laboratory of Georges Cuvier in Paris. It is mainly concerned with the discussion of contemporary scientific discoveries, and the exchange of information. It covers a wide range of natural history subjects.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Buckland (1784-1856) was a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford (1808-1825) and one of the foremost geologists of his day. Professor of Mineralogy at Oxford from 1813, he was made Reader in Geology in 1819. He was President of the Geological Society twice, in 1824 and 1840. In 1845 he became Dean of Westminster.

Joseph Barclay Pentland (1797-1873) was born in Ireland and educated at Armagh and at Paris, where he worked with Georges Cuvier (1769-1832). Diplomatic postings to South America gave him the opportunity to travel and to make scientific observations. He undertook an important survey of part of the Bolivian Andes.


The letters are listed in chronological order.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers.

REPROGRAPHIC: Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Other Finding Aids

NOTE: Copyright on all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

  • In the Reading Room, University of Nottingham Library: Typescript Catalogue, 4 pp. No details of the content of the correspondence is given.
  • At the National Register of Archives, London: Typescript Catalogue, 4 pp. No details of the content of the correspondence is given.

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk ). The Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

LANGUAGE: English.

Custodial History

The correspondence was acquired by the Library in 1970.


Sarjeant, A.S., and Delair, J.B., 'An Irish Naturalist in Cuvier's Laboratory. The Letters of Joseph Pentland 1820-1832', in Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Historical Series, vi, 7, April 1980