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William Bullock (collector)

William Bullock (collector) English traveller, naturalist and antiquarian

English traveller, naturalist and antiquarian
William Bullock (collector)
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Intro English traveller, naturalist and antiquarian
Is Zoologist Naturalist Entomologist
From United Kingdom
Type Biology Science Social science
Gender male
Birth Sheffield
William Bullock (collector)
The details


William Bullock (c. 1773 – 7 March 1849) was an English traveller, naturalist and antiquarian.


Bullock was the son of William Bullock and his wife Elizabeth (née Smallwood) proprietors of a travelling waxworks. He began as a goldsmith and jeweller in Birmingham. By 1795 Bullock was in Liverpool, where he founded a Museum of Natural Curiosities at 24 Lord Street. While still trading as a jeweller and goldsmith, in 1801 he published a descriptive catalogue of the works of art, armoury, objects of natural history, and other curiosities in the collection, some of which had been brought back by members of James Cook's expeditions. In 1809, Bullock moved to London and the collection, housed first at 22 Piccadilly and in 1812 in the newly built Piccadilly Egyptian Hall, proved extremely popular. The collection, which included over 32,000 items, was disposed of by auction in 1819.

In 1810, Bullock figured briefly in a law case concerning Sarah Baartman, a Khoikhoi woman brought to England for purposes of exhibition as the "Hottentot Venus". Bullock had been approached by Alexander Dunlop, the army surgeon responsible for Baartman's arrival in England, but had declined to be involved in the proposed show.

In 1822 Bullock went to Mexico where he became involved in silver mine speculation. He brought back many artefacts and specimens which formed a new exhibition in the Egyptian Hall. A second visit to Mexico, and to the United States, took place in 1827. Bullock bought land on the bank of the Ohio River from Thomas D. Carneal where he proposed to build a utopian community named Hygeia (a Greek word meaning health) laid out by John Buonarotti Papworth. The speculation was not a success, although some people, including Frances Trollope, took part; Bullock sold the land to Israel Ludlow, Jr. in 1846. [1]

Bullock was back in London by 1843 and died there at 14 Harley Terrace, Chelsea. He was buried at St Mary's Church, Chelsea, on 16 March 1849.

Bullock was a fellow of the Linnean, Horticultural, Geological, Wernerian, and other learned societies, and published several pamphlets on natural history.


  • A Companion to the Liverpool Museum, containing a brief description of ... natural & foreign curiosities, antiquities & productions of the fine arts, open for public inspection ... at the house of William Bullock, Church Street. Liverpool: T. Schofield, printer, ca. 1801., numerous editions.
  • A concise and easy method of preserving objects of natural history: intended for the use of sportsmen, travellers, and others; to enable them to prepare and preserve such curious and rare articles. London: printed for the proprietor, 1818. 2. Ed.
  • Six months' residence and travels in Mexico; containing remarks on the present state of New Spain, its natural productions, state of society, manufactures, trade, agriculture, and antiquities, &c.. London: John Murray, 1824.
    • Sechs Monate in Mexiko oder Bemerkungen über den gegenwärtigen Zustand Neu-Spaniens von W. Bullock. Aus dem Engl. übers. von Friedrich Schott. Dresden: Hilscher, 1825.
    • Le Mexique en 1823, ou Relation d'un voyage dans la Nouvelle-Espagne, contenant des notions exactes et peu connues sur la situation physique, morale et politique de ce pays. Paris: Alexis-Eymery, 1824.
  • A description of the unique exhibition, called Ancient Mexico: collected on the spot in 1823 ... for public inspection at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. London: Printed for the proprietors, 1824.
  • Catalogue of the exhibition, called Modern Mexico: containing a panoramic view of the city, with specimens of the natural history of New Spain ... at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. London: Printed for the proprietor, 1824
  • A descriptive catalogue of the exhibition, entitled Ancient and Modern Mexico: containing a panoramic view of the present city, specimens of the natural history of New Spain ... at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. London: Printed for the proprietors, 1825.
  • Sketch of a journey through the Western States of North America: from New Orleans, by the Mississippi, Ohio, city of Cincinnati and falls of Niagara, to New York, in 1827. London: Miller, 1827

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