Past, Present, Man, Nature: celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes.
An online exhibit by Alison Cullingford, Special Collections Librarian, University of Bradford.
1. A Cat that Walked by Herself
Jessie Jacquetta Hopkins was born in 1910 in Cambridge. Her father was Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on vitamins.
Her outstanding academic ability does not shine out in her surviving reports from Perse School. Her memories of learning were of exciting personal experiences that sparked her passions for nature and the past: discovering a Saxon jaw in their antiquity-filled garden, pretending to be a cave man, bicycling around Cambridgeshire to understand church architecture, brass rubbing. She went her own way at school, identifying with Kipling’s Cat that Walked by Himself, resisting uniforms, organised games and Girl Guides.
Jacquetta’s nature diaries, of which this page from 1927 illustrating a finch is typical, show her life-long interest in ornithology and her artistic talent. The notes are candid and quirky, revealing her determination to think for herself and explore the world around her.