Joseph Carne, eldest son of a Cornish banker, was a self-taught geologist and mineralogist who made detailed investigations of the rocks and minerals of Cornwall and was appointed manager of the Cornish Copper Company’s works at Hayle in 1807. Although the Wikipedia entry on Carne claims that his published works prompted the eminent German geologist Abraham Gottlieb Werner (1749-1817) to travel to Cornwall, I can find no reference which backs up this claim. On the contrary, it is generally stated that Werner never traveled beyond his native Saxony.
During his professional life Carne amassed a unique collection of Cornish minerals, especially rare ore minerals. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1818, was an honorary member of the Cambridge Philosophical Society and an active member of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, which is the second oldest geological society in the world and the only one to have royal patronage. In 1820 Carne became a partner in the family bank of Batten, Carne & Carne. Upon his death in 1858, the eighth of his nine children, Elizabeth inherited £20,000, his mineral collection, the family house and his partnership in the bank. She also took her geology and natural history seriously, visiting Europe and authored books and published papers for the Transactions of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall and the London Quarterly Review.camunivmuseums
Elizabeth Carne made a number of visits to places in Europe, including Pau (described in her book, Three Months Rest at Pau in the Winter and Spring of 1859) and Menton, where she examined parts of the geology of the French Alps, later described in her paper ‘Enquiry into the age of that part of the district of the Maritime Alps which surrounds Mentone’, Transactions of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall 7 (1865) 433–41. She also wrote three more papers for the society, published in its Transactions: two continued her father’s work on granites and raised beaches, and a third was on the metamorphic rocks of Cornwall. She was also the author of a number of books and many papers for the London Quarterly Review (some under the pseudonym John Altrayd Wittitterly). She died at 6 Coulson’s Terrace, Penzance, of typhoid fever, on 7 September 1873, and was buried on 12 September at Phillack churchyard. elizabeth-carne