Obituary: Arthur Goodwin Stubbs, 1871 - 1950

Extracted from Journal of Conchology, Volume 23, p.120

Arthur Goodwin Stubbswas born at Nottingham on 10 January 1871 and died on 23 February 1950. He was the elder son of Arthur Stubbs, of Sherwood Rise, Nottingham, and was educated at Haileybury and Jesus College, Cambridge. He contrived to turn his interest in botany to practical account by going into business as a nursery gardener. He married in 1895, and had one daughter, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Stubbs was captain of his school and college cricket teams and a first class lawn tennis player of Wimbledon standard; he was also proficient at hockey, golf and billiards. In contrast to his athletic prowess he was a chess expert of international reputation, and contributed over 2,000 chess problems to various newspapers. This, however, did not exhaust his versatility, for Stubbs was gifted with a high degree of artistic talent, and was awarded the Grenfell Medal (silver and bronze) for about 20 years in succession by the Royal Horticultural Society for his watercolour paintings of flowers.

To his other interests and pursuits Stubbs added an enthusiasm for conchology, and his exquisite paintings of shells used to form one of the most popular exhibits at annual meetings of the Conchological Society. The more variable species of Helicidae particularly attracted him, and in the portrayal of their numerous mutations of colour and markings his delicate artistry found its most felicitous expression. His Illustrated Index of British Freshwater Shells was published by Taylor Brothers of Leeds in 1907, but some of the reproductions fail to do full justice to the accuracy of the original drawings. Stubbs was celebrated for his skill in cleaning even the most intractable shells, and his specimens never failed to evoke the admiration and envy of less accomplished conchologists. He had a pamphlet printed in 1900 for private circulation, entitled “Hints on cleaning the smaller transparent species of British Land Mollusca”.

Stubbs’ collection and paintings of shells are now in the possession of Mr. David A. Richardson, who has kindly supplied most of the above particulars of his grandfather’s life.