Philip Henry Gosse

1810-1888. Son of an itinerant painter of miniatures, he was born in Worcester and worked as a clerk and a farmer in North America (1827-38). On returning to England he was poverty-stricken until his Canadian Naturalist (1840) was accepted by a publisher. After a brief spell with Methodists he associated himself with Brethren. He visited Jamaica in 1847 and soon became a prolific writer and lecturer on natural history. He invented and popularized the aquarium and was a sensitive, accurate illustrator. His Actinologia Britannica (1858-60) is a standard history of sea anemones and corals. After his first wife's death in 1857 he retired to St. Marychurch, remarried, and shepherded a Brethren assembly on individualistic lines. His attempt in Omphalos (1857) to reconcile Genesis with geology satisfied no one. His failings were those of an intellectual recluse, not a bigot.