a color plate from 1960 and article by ‘Pat’ Maxwell

Within the days when color printing was extraordinarily costly, the Avicultural Society had particular appeals for funds to assist the looks in Avicultural Journal of the occasional color plate. A widely known hen artist was then commissioned. Though the entire run of the Society’s magazines will be discovered on-line, the plates not often see the sunshine of day. Due to this fact I made a decision to indicate one, every now and then, on this website. That is the eleventh within the collection.

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The artist just isn’t talked about within the textual content of the accompanying article and I can’t make out the signature within the nook. The image has been seen by some as {a photograph} relatively than as a portray however the signature and composition, even permitting for the replica, appear to level to it being on canvas. As identified by Mike Curzon when he reported breeding this species at a now-closed hen backyard in Rode, Somerset, it was a poor illustration of the coloration. There are fashionable pictures of this species right here.

The hen was uncommon in captivity on the time as a result of it’s discovered within the Atlantic forest of Brazil which was not then the location of main gathering for the dwell parrot commerce. Having later been subjected to the same old issues and habitat loss and over-collection, the inhabitants of the Pink-tailed Amazon (Amazona brasiliensis) is now mentioned to be rising once more. It’s categorised within the IUCN Pink Listing as ‘Close to Threatened’. 

The article was written by Patrick ‘Pat’ Corridor Maxwell who was well-known in avicultural circles of the the twentieth century.

A really quick account of Maxwell’s life is given in The Eponym Dictionary of Birds (EDB). The rationale his identify seems there’ll turn out to be obvious beneath.

Patrick Corridor Maxwell was born on 31 Might 1912 in London. He was a son of the Raj. In 1912 his father, Percy Alexander Maxwell (1883-1951), who was born in Darjeeling, was a Captain within the Indian Military. Earlier than transferring to the Indian Military’s third Brahmans in 1903, after passing out of Sandhurst in 1902 Percy Maxwell served within the South Lancashire Regiment. Throughout the First World Battle he served within the third Brahmans and in 94th Russell’s Infantry within the Mesopotamia Marketing campaign, being promoted to Main in 1917. In 1919 he was appointed OBE (army) for providers in Mesopotamia; he was then with the first Brahmans.. He retired as a Lieutenant-Colonel however I’ve been unable to fund the date when he lastly returned to UK. The London Gazette although reveals that he lastly retired, from the Indian Military Reserve, on reaching the statuary age in 1938, i.e. at 55.

Patrick Maxwell’s mom was Mary Beatrice Sport, the daughter of a farmer. She married Percy in Evesham, Worcestershire in 1909. In 1921 Main and Mrs Maxwell, presumably on depart from India, had been staying along with her mother and father in Evesham. Patrick was boarding at Eastacre, a preparatory college in Winchester.

Patrick Maxwell  joined the Avicultural Society in 1929. His tackle is proven in membership lists as that of his mother and father: Ebberley Hill, St. Giles, close to Torrington, Devon, till the 1944-45 quantity of Avicultural Journal.

It’s clear that throughout the Nineteen Thirties Maxwell saved birds in Devon, presumably at Ebberley Hill. Given his job as an assistant librarian in 1939 and his monumental assist for the Royal Albert Museum in Exeter (see beneath) I do marvel if he was employed on the Central Library in Exeter after leaving college (which might have been round 1928). The library and museum had been basically the identical establishment and had been situated one reverse the opposite on the identical road. The place else however a museum would a bird-mad younger man spend his spare time throughout the working week?

Within the 1939 Register, the emergency census, he was residing in London, at 2 Queensway Place, Kensington; his occupation was ‘assistant librarian’. Notes in Avicultural Journal over the wartime interval present quite a lot of addresses along with the parental house. In 1941 got here Palmer’s Dairy, Queen Avenue, Lynton, Devon—was he staying there on vacation? In 1942 the tackle was the  Nationwide Central Library in London (later included into the British Library). I believe it’s protected to conclude that within the struggle years as much as 1944, Maxwell was employed as an assistant librarian in London. His notes point out that his birds had been ‘on deposit’ at Paignton Zoo and at London Zoo by 1940, suggesting his assortment had been damaged up by his transfer to London.

The EDB states that he labored as a keeper at Paignton Zoo. When this was and the way it fitted into the remainder of his life I have no idea and have been unable to search out out.

In 1944-45 he labored at London Zoo and offered notes on new arrivals to Avicultural Journal. He then moved his postal tackle from that of his mother and father to The Salvation Military Pink Protect Membership, 28 Euston Sq.. He additionally donated birds and saved a few of his personal birds on the Zoo.

How he got here to get the job on the Zoo is an attention-grabbing query. He was already effectively linked with the internal circle of the Avicultural Society. He was proposed for membership in 1929 by a fellow parrot fanatic Miss Emily Maud Knobel, of whom I’ve written beforehand and who, together with different members, had been both employed by or had deep connections with London Zoo. Maxwell was sufficiently well-known to be a founder member of the internal circle, the British Aviculturists’ Membership, which met for the primary time on 10 April 1946 on the Rembrandt Lodge in London.

In 1946 he moved to Whipsnade the place he ran and doubtless arrange the Parrot Home (till its removing in 1958) which housed the zoo’s personal birds, birds he had donated and others of his personal. The Parrot Home was a brand new addition to Whipsnade. The wood constructing had been the Fellows’ Tea Pavilion earlier than the Second World Battle after which an Air Raid Wardens’ lookout submit over the encircling countryside. Maxwell’s parrots had been a far cry from the constructing’s function in entertaining King George V, Queen Mary, the Duke of York (the long run George VI) and Princess Elizabeth (QE II) on 23 April 1934, on the primary royal go to to the zoo.

It’s on Maxwell’s interval at Whipsnade that there’s extra info recalled in 2021 by Bernard Sayers, one other famous aviculturist, in a collection of articles in Keeper Contact, the superb and informative e-newsletter printed by Paul Irven. Bernard Sayers wrote:

Patrick (Pat) Corridor Maxwell (1912-1991) used to usually attend conferences of the Avicultural Society and it was there that I met him. He was a small, intensely shy gentleman who was invariably sitting alone in a nook. I felt relatively sorry for this seemingly lonely man and made a degree of sitting alongside of him and interesting him in dialog, and I’m very happy I did as a result of not solely was he a stunning individual, however he had loved a really attention-grabbing life. 

Pat got here from a really rich household who owned in depth properties in London. Judging by his cultured accent and impeccable manners I deduced that he went to a public college. He all the time insisted on calling me Mr Sayers though I repeatedly urged him to name me Bernard. Being of impartial means he spent his life working as a zoo keeper at Paignton, London (1944) and at Whipsnade (1946-1966) [Information from EDB]

Pat had a selected curiosity within the parrot household and together with his appreciable wealth, he would purchase most of the uncommon species which got here onto market. But, since he had no settled house or backyard of his personal, he couldn’t preserve them himself. As an alternative he loaned his birds to zoos and several other went to Len Hill`s Birdland at Bourton-on-the-Water. These included the 2 feminine Lear`s macaws which, for a few years, had been the one examples of this species on this nation. The one exception was a red-tailed Amazon parrot (Amazona brasiliensis) which he saved as a pet. At the moment the Nationwide Exhibition of Cage Birds was held at Olympia round Christmas of every 12 months. The unique birds had been exhibited on the balcony and for a number of years Pat confirmed his red-tailed Amazon parrot there. It created appreciable curiosity as a result of it was considered the one instance of this species exterior its native Brazil. Pat acquired this hen within the Nineteen Fifties and it died in 1968.  [It is his Red-tailed Amazon that was the subject of the article and plate in Avicultural Magazine.]

After I used to satisfy Pat Maxwell he was retired and residing in a London resort. I usually remorse that I didn’t get to know him higher so I might have learnt extra particulars of his exceptional life. 

Half the parrots within the parrot home belonged to London Zoo (having been introduced over from Regent`s Park) and the rest had been the property of Pat Maxwell. Pat was the keeper in command of the parrot home and when it closed he wished to proceed on the hen part. Sadly, for some motive, Pat had an uneasy relationship with Harold Tong, Whipsnade`s Director, who as an alternative transferred him to the camel part which didn’t please him.

Ernest Harold Tong (1908-1992), Superintendent of Whipsnade from 1947 was a land agent. The derision during which managers of zoos with little expertise with, or a deep, even obsessive, curiosity in animals, are held by keepers continues to the current day. Maxwell was additionally a fish out of water. Within the Zoological Society of London’s zoos, there was a strict hierarchy identical to that within the armed providers: Keepers had been the personal troopers, Head Keepers the NCOs, Overseers the Sergeant Majors, Curators and Superintendents the Officers. Maxwell, of the officer class, was working as a keeper.

I used to be instructed by Clin Keeling (and will even have learn someplace) that Pat Maxwell was effectively linked with senior figures in ZSL within the Forties and was a part of the communist or excessive left-leaning and pro-Soviet cabal that existed at Whipsnade.

Between 1939 and 1951 he introduced specimens—the EDB states over 300—to the Royal Albert Museum in Exeter, about 35 miles from his mother and father’ home in north Devon.  The current catalogue of the museum reveals that they now have 15: 12 birds and three mammals (see right here). The birds vary from a Rhea, Cassowary and Andean Nook to a Gouldian Finch and a Hummingbird.; the mammals are a Maned Wolf, a Saki and a Springhaas. Many are on public show. Some had been professionally mounted by taxidermists; others had been skins. 

What I can’t decide is whether or not he really collected any of the specimens from the wild. Though {the catalogue} has a couple of during which he’s proven because the collector, I think there was confusion as as to if he was donating birds of his or of others that had died in captivity. The Kea he introduced falls into that class. Equally, Maxwell recorded that he purchased dwell birds delivered to this nation by the collector/vendor Wilfred Frost. Useless ones from the Frost and different collectors might have been purchased by Maxwell and handed on to the museum. He definitely purchased birds from different collections, presumably from salerooms or sellers; the unique labels are nonetheless connected.

The EDB states that he travelled from the Forties to Seventies to ‘Africa, Samoa and the Solomon Islands’. I have no idea the place this info got here from but when inferred from the Exeter museum catalogue then that info might be fallacious. I’ve failed to search out any delivery information to point the dates of Maxwell’s travels or any file of their existence. The one point out he gave to journey was a observe in Avicultural Journal in 1967 a couple of journey to Jamaica, shortly after he retired from Whipsnade on the age of 54. He might, in fact, have travelled extra extensively by air after that. The one clue I’ve of his different travels is that within the letter to Avicultural Journal reporting the loss of life of the parrot in 1968 he ended with ‘I’ve travelled over a fantastic a part of the world’.

Maxwell as a member of the British Ornithologists’ Union and though there isn’t any point out of his loss of life in Avicultural Journal there could also be in its journal. Since there isn’t any correct index to the minor gadgets printed in The Ibis and the related again points are behind an costly paywall it might break the bank to verify in there on-line. A go to to a library with a full run on the cabinets is required.

Earlier than transferring on to his entry within the EDB it’s attention-grabbing to notice that his donations to the Exeter museum ceased in 1951. He had despatched specimens, together with his eponymous one, from London Zoo. It was round this time there was a fantastic hoo-ha concerning the distribution of lifeless materials from ZSL and of who had precedence in getting their palms on it. Within the ZSL there may be an alternate of letters in 1949 between Maxwell and George Cansdale, then Superintendent at London Zoo, about sending lifeless snakes to Exeter.

I think Maxwell spent many hours as a younger man within the Exeter Museum. Willoughby Prescott Lowe (1872-1949) was from the Nineteen Thirties the honorary curator. Within the 1939 Register, Lowe, residing in Exmouth, described himself as ‘naturalist, working free for Exeter Museum). He was a well-known collector for the Pure Historical past Museum in London who in ‘retirement’ got down to enhance the Exeter assortment. That’s the place Maxwell performed his half in donating specimens. It was Lowe who named a specimen offered by Maxwell after Maxwell. Underneath the title, A New Banded Rail from the Philippines, Lowe ended his observe to the British Ornithologists’ Membership with:

The Exeter Museum has lately obtained from P. H. Maxwell, Esq., this new Rail, which died within the London Zoo on February 29, 1944. It was obtained in Manila by the Hon. Anthony Chaplin, on the way in which again from Lord Moyne’s expedition to New Guinea. It offers me pleasure to call this hen after Mr. Maxwell, who has generously introduced to the Exeter Museum so many uncommon and invaluable specimens.

The rail was named as a brand new subspecies Hypotaenidia torquata maxwelli.

The kind specimen was given to the Pure Historical past Museum in London in 1952. That catalogue has a special date for the hen’s loss of life (31 March 1944) and Anthony Chaplin was then the third Viscount Chaplin (1906-1981) who was Secretary of ZSL from 1952 till 1955. The truth that the Exeter Museum was giving specimens he had introduced away (Lowe had died in 1949) may have soured the ambiance for future donations from Maxwell.

Sadly, however having learn Lowe’s description, not surprisingly, Maxwell’s subspecies is now not recognised as legitimate. It has been lumped into what’s now Gallirallus torquatus torquatus.

After Maxwell left Whipsnade he’s proven as residing as a flat in London the place he saved the parrot proven within the plate. After 1970 he lived in quite a lot of resorts, visitor homes and care properties.

Patrick Corridor Maxwell died on 17 October 1991 in a care house in Tunbridge Wells.

Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2014. The Eponym Dictionary of Birds. London: Bloomsbury.

Curzon M. 1995. Breeding the Pink-tailed Amazon on the Tropical Chook Gardens. Avicultural Journal 101, 49-51.

Lowe WP. 1944. A brand new Banded Rail from the Philippines. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Membership 65, 5.

Maxwell PH. 1960. The Blue-faced or Pink-tailed Amazon Parrot (Amazona brasiliensis (Linn.)) Avicultural Journal 66, 1-2.

Sayers B. 2021. Whipsnade`s Parrot Home, Pat Maxwell and the Blue Macaws (Half one). Keeper Contact  Quantity 177 (November 2021), 13-16.


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