John Henry Heuland is among the best known of all 19th-century British mineral dealers. Cooper (2006) wrote of him: "Heuland's influence on mineral collecting in England was enormous; his predilection for fine specimens
legendary, and his determination to obtain good locality information ahead of his time."
He was born Johann Heinrich Heuland in Bayreuth, Germany on March 21, 1778, the son of Susanna Förster and Adolarius Höland, a merchant. His wife's elder brother was Jacob Förster, also destined to become an important name in British and European mineral dealing. Henry had begun dealing in minerals at least as early as 1799, at the age of 21, and had certainly been introduced to them earlier, possibly by the Count Louis de Bournon whom he had met in 1795.
Heuland was fluent in German, Spanish and French and possibly Russian as well; he traveled frequently on long buying trips, especially to Paris, Madrid, Lisbon and St. Petersburg, where he purchased specimens for resale in England. In fact, he maintained a virtual monopoly on Russian mineral specimens and charged accordingly high prices. He maintained connections with suppliers of specimens across Europe, South America and the United States in order to obtain the finest material. When Jacob Forster died in 1806, Heuland inherited a half-share in his large personal mineral collection, and later sold it to Charles Hampden Turner.
Heuland sold extravagantly to Cornish collector Philip Rashleigh (1728-1811), and many Heuland specimens are preserved today in the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, along with his typical handwritten labels. He also sold many fine specimens to Charles Greville (1749-1809), Abraham Hume, and other prominent British collectors, as well as the British Museum.
Heuland also built a fine personal collection of his own, consisting of more than 7,000 of the finest specimens held back from his dealer stock, and incorporating the fine collection made by the Marquis Étienne Gilbert de Drče (1760-1848). By 1827 Heuland's personal collection was rated by Alexander von Humboldt as the finest in all of Europe. Heuland ultimately sold his collection off piecemeal at auctions during the 1830's. The labels shown here (from the Karlheinz Gerl label collection) are from specimens Heuland sold to the London brewer Isaac Walker; the "H" indicates a specimen from Heuland's personal collection, whereas the other capital letters indicate other previous owners.
Throughout his career, Heuland held spectacular auctions consisting entirely of his own minerals. The first was held in March of 1808, and included primarily minerals from Chile and Russia. Heuland's auctions were always well attended and often very profitable; there were at least 50 sales between 1808 and 1849. Henry Heuland spent his last years with his second wife, retired and bored in Sussex. He died on November 16, 1856.
COOPER, M.P. (2006) Robbing the Sparry Garniture; a 200-Year History of British Mineral Dealers. Mineralogical Record, Tucson.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
|Click on thumbnail picture to see larger image.|
Number of labels found: 2 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 2
||61 x 127 mm,|
Label for a specimen of Magnesia from Unst in the Shetland Islands, signed by "your very humble and very obedient servant, Henry Heuland." The obsequious wording suggests that the recipent was of the aristocracy.
||18 x 29 mm,|
Note for specimen lot no. 607 purchased at Heuland's May 1840 sale for 5 pounds, 5 shillings and 0 pence.