A Victorian mineral collection by Mr Tennant

£ 1500

Three cabinets in total. Circa 1861. The first a mahogany cabinet, complete with original key, three Mr Tennant labels, one listing him as mineralogist to Queen Victoria, and three pull out trays. Complete with hand written catalogue “Collection of minerals, metals and Rocks by James Tennant No 149 Stand London April 1861”. The cabinet is complete with its all its specimens in 75 individual boxed compartments (with corresponding numbered labels) and with the original padding protection between each layer.
25.5 cm Wide x 20cm Deep x 10.5cm High.

The two following cabinets are from the same collection but unlabeled.

The second. A mahogany cabinet (complete with key) with 36 compartment s of unnumbered specimens.
34cm Wide x 27cm Deep x 6cm High.

The third. A pine cabinet containing two lift out trays (140 compartments in total) with blotting paper leaves for protection. The first tray complete with 70 undisturbed specimens all correctly numbered and in order, the second tray is incomplete.
42cm Wide x 26cm Deep x 6.5cm High.

Ref: 23343

Notes on James Tennant. An English mineralogist to Queen Victoria.

Tennant was born on 8 February 1808 at Upton, near Southwell, Nottinghamshire. His father, John Tennant, was an officer in the Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise; his mother, Eleanor Kitchen, came from a family of yeomen resident at Upton for more than two centuries.
In October 1824, Tennant was apprenticed to John Mawe, a dealer in minerals at 149 Strand in London. After Mawe’s death in 1829 Tennant managed the business with Mawe’s widow, Sarah Mawe, who became known as “Mineralogist to Her Majesty”. He purchased Sarah’s share of the business on her retirement in 1840.
Tennant attended classes at a mechanics’ institute and the lectures of Michael Faraday at the Royal Institution in London. In 1838, on Faraday’s recommendation, Tennant was appointed teacher of geological mineralogy at King’s College London, later a professor. In 1853 the professorship of geology was added. From 1850 to 1867, Tennant was also a lecturer on geology and mineralogy at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. Tennant had an excellent practical knowledge of minerals; when diamonds were first found in South Africa, Tennant verified that they were indeed genuine.
Tennant was an earnest advocate of technical education, giving his own money liberally to help, and persuading the Turners’ Company, of which he was master in 1874, to offer prizes for excellence in their craft. When the Koh-i-Noor diamond was recut, Tennant superintended the work In 1840, he becoming mineralogist to Queen Victoria in 1840, taking over from Sarah Mawe.
Tennant was elected a fellow of the Geological Society in 1838, and president of the Geologists’ Association (1862–3).
Tennant died in London on 23 February 1881. He never married.