James John Joicey

James John Joicey (b. 1871; d. 10 March 1932, Hill Witley) was an amateur entomologist who assembled a massive collection of Lepidoptera in a private museum called the Hill Museum.

A wealthy man of leisure he first competed with Walter Rothschild, attempting to build the world's premier orchid collection. He went bankrupt for the then very large sum of 30,000 pounds. The judge made him promise to abandon collecting orchids. Instead Joicey switched to Lepidoptera, founding the Hill Museum at his Witley home. He began by acquiring the Henley Grose-Smith collection in 1910. Three years later he purchased the Herbert Druce collection. Between 1913 and 1921 Joicey bought further collections, those of Roland Trimen, 1916, Robert Swinhoe, 1916, Lt.-Col. C. G. Nurse, 1919, Hamilton Druce, 1919 and Paul Dognin 1921. He added to these by sending special collectors to explore various regions on his behalf, for example, the Pratt brothers to South America and New Guinea, and T. A. Barns to Central Africa. By 1930 the Hill Museum contained upwards of 380,000 specimens. Joicey employed curators, such as George Talbot, who published on world Lepidoptera, concentrating on New Guinea, Hainan Island, and central and eastern Africa. He published four volumes of the Bulletin of the Hill Museum, 1931-1932.

A Catalogue of the Type Specimens of Lepidoptera Rhopalocera in the Hill Museum was published by Alfred George Gabriel in 1932.

Joicey went bankrupt again in the 1930s for over 300,000 pounds, and his collection was given to the Natural History Museum in London. The Joicey, Oberthuer and Rothschild collections are the reason that the Natural History Museum enjoys such numerical superiority over other collections throughout the world.

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