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Barnard, Keppel Harcourt (1887-1964) 


Read about a trip he did with A.D. Izard, C.W. Thorne and Mr Cameron to the Langeberg mountains in the Riversdale district of the Western Cape, South Africa.


Date Age Event

31 March 1887


Born in London, England. Only son of Harcourt George Barnard (solicitor) and his wife, Anne Elizabeth Porter.



Educated at a private school in Camberley, Surrey.



Attended Realschule in Mannheim, Germany, in order to learn German.



Studied at Christ's College, Cambridge, taking the Natural Science Tripos in botany, geology and zoology. Also attended courses in anthropology, ethnology, and geography. After obtaining his B.A. degree he studied law.



Called to the Bar, Middle Temple. Took degree of M.A. (Cantab.) awarded in absentia in 1913. Was more interested in science than law however and for a short time was an honorary naturalist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Plymouth.



Joined the staff of the South African Museum, Cape Town and worked there for the rest of his life. He was in charge of the marine collections and his extensive publications dealt mainly with marine biology and systematics of marine animals. However, he was also a keen mountaineer and from 1918-1945 was secretary of the Mountain Club of South Africa. On his mountaineering expeditions he collected freshwater insects (Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera) in the Cape streams and also collected Colophon stag beetles (Lucanidae). He published a number of significant papers on these insect groups.



Went on expedition to the coast of Mozambique.



Went on expedition to the Natal coast.



Married Alice Watkins. Had two children, a son and a daughter.



Went on expedition to the Natal interior.



Appointed assistant director of the South African Museum.

1921, 1923 and 1926


Went on expeditions to Ovamboland, Kaokoveld and north to the Kunene River, as part of the Zoological Survey of South-West Africa.



Obtained D.Sc. at the University of Cape Town for thesis on the Distribution of Crustacea in South African Waters.



Served as acting director of the South African Museum after the death of Louis Peringuey.



Went on expedition to Gordonia and the Orange River as far as the Augrabies Falls.



Served as acting director of the South African Museum.



Director of the South African Museum.

22 September 1964


Died in Cape Town.

 "Barnard's studies of South African Crustacea, Mollusca, fishes and insects added significantly to our knowledge of these groups. He was undoubtedly one of South Africa's greatest zoologists but a modest and retiring man despite his prodigious scientific achievements. Among the honours he received were: Fellowship of the Linnean Society of London, Fellowship of the Royal Society of South Africa, the Gold Badge of the Mountain Club of South Africa, the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal, the Senior Captain Scott Medal, and the medal and grant of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1956 the University of Stellenbosch conferred on him the degree of D.Sc. honoris causa." (Grindley, 1981).

Specimens collected

His specimens are housed in the South African Museum.


  • Grindley, J.R. 1981. Barnard, Keppel Harcourt. In Dictionary of South African Biography Volume IV (ed. C.J. Beyers). Butterworth, Durban, pp. 17-18.

  • Nature 204: 625-626

  • G&C p. 89.


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