Page last updated at 05:50 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 06:50 UK

Image found of murdered botanist

Silhouette of James Motley
The silhouette of Motley was created before photographs were common

The great-great nephew of a 19th Century botanist murdered while working in Borneo has given a rare image of his ancestor to an exhibition about him.

James Motley, who spent most of his life in Carmarthenshire, was killed by head hunters in 1859.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales has marked the 150th anniversary of his death but did not have an image of him.

Relative Toby Motley, 65, from Shropshire, has lent a family heirloom, a silhouette of Motley, to the display.

He said: "I knew I had an image of him but I didn't realise it was the only one that existed.

"I'm very happy to fill the gap in something that means a lot people who organised the exhibition. I shall happily leave it here."

Motley was just 36 when he was killed by Dyaks. His wife and three young children were also murdered.

Many of his papers and possessions were destroyed when his house was torched.

Although Motley was born in Leeds, his father established a tinplate works in Llanelli and he spent most of his early life in Carmarthenshire, where his interest in botany grew.

I knew I had an image of him but I didn't realise it was the only one that existed
Great, great nephew, Toby Motely

Exhibition organisers had appealed for help in locating an image of their subject.

Retired stockbroker Toby Motley said he had learnt of the exhibition from a nephew who had traced the family tree and his link to Motley.

He said the Motley family around that time commissioned a number of silhouettes of family members, before photographic images were common, as they were less expensive than portrait paintings.

He said: "I have always been aware that my great, great uncle had been a botanist of distinction but had died young and far away and there were limited records of him."

'Family history'

The botanic garden's library project coordinator Margot Greer said Mr Motley's visit had allowed the team to add extra detail into the exhibition.

She said: "It's wonderful. He is clarifying some dates that we didn't have as accurate as we needed to. We are revising the family history as we speak.

"It's filling the gap of what Motley actually looked like because we did not have an image of him at all. Now we have a silhouette.

"An exhibition about a person that doesn't have an image of that person is missing a key element."



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