The figure of Sir John Evans might stand as an exemplar for so many aspects of Victorian virtue. From beginnings as a clerk in the paper industry, he rose by hard work and astute judgement (not to mention advantageous marriage) to the peak of his profession. He became a phenomenon amongst the learned societies, holding office in the Royal Society, Numismatic Society, Society of Antiquaries, Geological Society and others. A thrice-married family man, he enjoyed a wide friendship, drawn mostly from the scholarly and scientific community and characterised as the 'Darwinist community'; with a strong sense of purpose they sought ways to extend the principles of natural selection to numismatic and antiquarian practice, and to establish protocols for the communication of visual evidence.Evans played key roles in topics as diverse as the water supply for the metropolis and the establishment of human antiquity. His archaeological and numismatic collections were internationally famous and formed the basis for a body of printed works produced over fifty years of sustained effort.
In this easily readable but scholarly volume, fourteen authors examine Evans' enduring significance in a study that firmly establishes his place in the canon of leading figures of Victorian society.
Publisher: Ashmolean Museum