The Specimens

The historic place names written on the backs of many paintings allowed us to create this map showing where many of White’s specimens likely originated from. Please note that these coordinates are not exact, but are our best representations of countries and regions that may no longer use the names that White used to describe them. Can you find the point for White’s residence in Wallingwells? How did a man who never left the United Kingdom collect specimens from as far away as Egypt or Indonesia?

If you want to learn more about a specific painting reference in this map please search for its name in McGill’s Archival Collections Catalogue. Here you can see the paintings themselves and read the references written on their backs.

Modern species identifications allowed us to create this map of the present day distributions of the species pictured in the collection. Countries with darker colors indicate that more of White’s specimens can be found there today than lighter colored countries.

It should be noted that this map does not show where these animals lived when White was collecting. For example, many animals have been introduced to Australia since the 1700s. White never would have found his birds there. Please also note that if an animal can now be found in multiple countries it is counted toward the totals in each place, meaning that the sum of numbers on this map does not equal the number of White’s specimens.