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Isaac Walker
(1794-1853)

Isaac Walker (II), wealthy British landowner, brewer and mineral collector, was born in St. Pancas Parrish, Middlesex County, London, England on March 20, 1794, the son of Sarah "Sally" Chorley and John Walker (1766-1824). He lived in the Arnos Grove mansion and estate that had been purchased in 1777 by his grandfather (Isaac Walker I, 1725-1804; a prosperous Quaker linen merchant), located in Edmonton Parrish, village of Southgate, Middlesex County, in the north area of London. The family had a governess and 11 household servants as of 1851. Isaac Walker married Sarah Sophia Vickris Taylor in 1823, and together they 12 children.

Walker purchased much of his fine mineral collection from Henry Heuland (1778-1856), including specimens from Heuland's private collection and from many others including the collection of Lady Louise Aylesford (1761-1832). According to his labels, he made his first purchases from Heuland in 1808 when Heuland was selling the Jacob Forster collection; Walker was just 14 years old. Subsequent purchases were made in 1813, 1816, 1817, 1818, 1821, 1826, 1827, 1829, 1830, 1832, 1833, 1834, 1835, 1836, 1837, 1838, 1839, 1840 and 1842 (and possibly other years). He noted a one-letter code on his labels indicating which collection the specimen had come from, "H" indicating Heuland's personal collection, "F" indicating the Forster collection, and other letters, e.g. T (James Tennant?), C (Alexander Crichton?), R, S, B, and L, representing other collections, some via Heuland.

Walker also noted a code in the lower left-hand corner for the price he paid for most specimens: "O", "I", "", and ".". British Museum curator Peter Embrey was of the opinion that "O" stood for 1 pound. The others supposedly stood for guineas, shillings and pence, though it is hard to believe that Walker paid only three or four pence for some specimens from Henry Heuland!

When Walker died on October 9, 1853, his collection passed to his sons, who may have added to it, keeping it at the family mansion; in 1912 the collection was acquired from the Walker Family by London mineral dealer Samuel Henson (1848-1930), who subsequently sold many fine specimens from it to the British Museum (Natural History). The museum also acquired Walker specimens via F. N. Ashcroft who purchased them from Henson and later donated them to the museum. Much of Walker's non-British material was sold to Krantz of Bonn.

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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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The Mineralogical Record - Isaac Walker Isaac Walker (courtesy of Bernard Sick)
The Mineralogical Record - Isaac Walker Isaac Walker's family home, the Arnos Grove mansion and estate in 1820.
The Mineralogical Record - Isaac Walker Exhibit of Isaac Walker specimens, labels and memorabilia by Bernard Sick and Karlheinz Gerl at the 2009 Munich Show.
The Mineralogical Record - Isaac Walker Label in Isaac Walker's hand for a specimen acquired from the "T" collection in 1830.
The Mineralogical Record - Isaac Walker Label in Isaac Walker's hand for a specimen he acquired from the "R" collection in 1832, Price: 1 shilling, 1 pence.
The Mineralogical Record - Isaac Walker Label in Isaac Walker's hand for a specimen he acquired from the "H" (Heuland) collection in 1833, Price: 3 pence.
The Mineralogical Record - Isaac Walker Label in Isaac Walker's hand for a specimen he acquired from the "S" collection in 1828, Price: 4 pence.
The Mineralogical Record - Isaac Walker Label in Isaac Walker's hand for a specimen he acquired from the "S" collection in 1828, Price: 4 pence.
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