The Fossil Historical Collections

There are three historical collections in the Palaeontology which have great importance for the history of the NHM. These are the Sloane, König and Pennant Collections. Over 100 specimens belong to the Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) Collection. The collection of Carl Dietrich Eberhard König (1774-1851), first Keeper of the Department of Natural History and Modern Curiosities, numbers about 50 specimens, described in Icones fossilium sectiles (1825). Finally, there is the collection of Thomas Pennant (1726-1798), an 18th century zoologist, antiquarian and correspondent of Gilbert White, which was donated in 1912 by the Earl of Denbigh. This comprises about 1000 specimens, some of which were described in Pennant’s manuscript Reliquiae Diluviannae, or a Catalogue of such bodies as were deposited in the Earth by the Deluge. Specimens in these collections are an invaluable resource for historical research and are the founding core of the British Museum and later The Natural History Museum. They mark the progress of early palaeontological exploration. Each collection contains fossils belonging to various groups, including molluscs, echinoderms, brachiopods, sponges, bryozoans, arthropods, fishes, reptiles, mammals and plants.

Data and Resources

Cite this as

Consuelo Sendino (2018). Dataset: The Fossil Historical Collections. Natural History Museum Data Portal (

Retrieved: 18:33 24 May 2019 (GMT)

Additional Info

Field Value
Author(s) Consuelo Sendino
Affiliation Natural History Museum
Temporal extent 1953-1798
Update frequency Discontinued
Dataset category Collections
Last updated April 25, 2018
Last resource update April 25, 2018 (Thomas Pennant (1726-1798) Collection of the NHM)
Created April 25, 2018
License Creative Commons Attribution