Eustace Frederic Wallis, 1869 - 1946

Eustace Wallis was born in Kettering and was the fifth of nine children all of whom were interested in natural history. Their father who used to take them on long nature rambles in the countryside encouraged this interest. Although Eustace went on to specialise in butterflies and moths it is apparent from his notebooks that he was an extremely knowledgeable and competent all round naturalist, presumably in part due to the shared family involvement. He was also a first class artist and was able to illustrate much of the wildlife that he saw.

The first of his records that I hold date from around the early 1880’s and over the next two decades or so he was engaged in all of the traditional methods of recording and collecting butterflies and moths. Many times he was working alone in woodland at night for moths and travelling long distances by day on his bicycle in search of butterflies. It was in this period that he wrote “The Lepidoptera of Northamptonshire,” that provided the detail on the county’s butterflies and moths that was so much lacking in the Victoria County History.

He then moved and worked away from the county returning in the mid 1930’s and continuing to submit records to the Kettering & District Natural History Society. He formed an outstanding collection of butterflies and moths containing much local material that was held in Kettering Library for many years before succumbing to the ravages of museum beetles and mites.

In retrospect, having regard to subsequent change, it was in the providing of a picture of the county’s butterflies and moths in the early 20th century to look back to that his contribution has been so invaluable.