Bill Bailey Becomes A Patron Of The Wallace Correspondence Project

Legendary comedian, natural historian and Wallace aficionado Bill Bailey has kindly agreed to become a Patron of our project. Little does he know that we are expecting him to transcribe 20 letters per month for us - just joking Bill!

The WCP now has the world's two most famous Wallace fans as its patrons - Sir David Attenborough and Bill. We are extremely grateful to both of them for their support.

Sir David (left), George (centre) and Bill (right) in the Central Hall of
London's Natural History Museum in 2012.

Bill has travelled extensively in 'the Malay Archipelago' and became deeply interested in Wallace 20 or so years ago (see THIS ARTICLE he wrote). He and the WCP's director, George, have known each other since about 2008 when Bill attended a Wallace conference at the Linnean Society of London, which George helped to arrange. Bill went on to become the patron of the Alfred Russel Wallace Memorial Fund and has since been involved in a number of Wallace-related projects with George.

George and Bill at the Linnean Society in 2008.

In 2012 Bill hired George as the Historical Consultant for his two part BBC series about Wallace, Bill Bailey's Jungle Hero. George edited the script and accompanied Bill and the film crew to Indonesia for three weeks to film part 2 of the series. The series has since been shown all over the world and has received several prestigious awards.

Left: George & Bill on Halmahera Island, Indonesia; Right: Bill approaches the legendary island of Ternate at dusk.

Bill at the entrance to an alley named after Wallace
on Ternate.

2013 saw worldwide events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Wallace's death, and Bill and George were involved in a number of the anniversary projects, including a short film about Wallace and biogeography for London's Natural History Museum (NHM). In January 2013 Bill unveiled a huge historic oil painting of Wallace, which George arranged to be hung in its original site near the large marble statue of Darwin on the stairs of the NHM's Central Hall (it had been in storage for many years).

Left: Bill beside the NHM's oil painting of Wallace; Right: Bill unveils the painting in its new (old) site.

Later in 2013, Sir David and Bill both gave excellent speeches at the unveiling of the large bronze statue of Wallace which George raised the funds to have made. It was donated to the NHM by the Wallace Memorial Fund and now resides in a hidden corner of the second floor balcony above the Museum's Central Hall.

In recognition of Bill and Sir David's very important contributions to the public understanding of Wallace's life and work during the anniversary year, George presented them with the Wallace Memorial Fund's silver medal.

Sir David and Bill inspect their silver medals.

The silver medal.

Thanks again Bill for your patronage!

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