image ms 236 26
Image number: RS.10925
Credit: © The Royal Society



May 1850


Richard Spruce (1817-1893, British), Explorer

Object type



height (drawing): 204mm
width (drawing): 253mm


Content object

   > landscape


Landscape sketch of a town surrounded by forest looking towards a bay. In the distance is a church with two steeples. In the foreground are dwellings, with a figure providing scale.

Annotated by Spruce ‘Santarem, mouth of Rio Tapajoz, (at the confluence of the Tapajoz & Amazon. (Back view, from a hill near the fort, looking across the wide bay of the Tapajoz.) May, 1850. R.S. No. 3’.

Reproduced as Figure 3 in Notes of a botanist on the Amazon & Andes: being records of travel on the Amazon and its tributaries, the Trombetas, Rio Negro, Uaupés, Casiquiari, Pacimoni, Huallaga, and Pastasa; as also to the cataracts of the Orinoco, along the eastern side of the Andes of Peru and Ecuador, and the shores of the Pacific, during the years 1849-1864 edited by Alfred Russel Wallace (volume I, London, 1908).

In the text of the aforementioned work Spruce notes the western half of Santarem was the residence of Indian and other free people of colour who inhabited huts with mud walls or no walls at all. The population of the whole town, then the largest on the Amazon, would at that time scarcely exceed 2000.

Object history

Spruce spent 15 years exploring the Amazon from the Andes to its mouth, collecting plants on behalf of botanists including Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker FRS and George Bentham FRS. He was one of the first Europeans to visit many of the places from which he collected. Spruce was not a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Associated place

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