Born 1635, died 1672. One of the original members of The Royal Society, 1663. Inscription on the mount says 'By permission of Lord Middleton from the portrait at Wollaton Hall'.
Born at Middleton Hall, Warwickshire to Sir Francis Willoughby and Cassandra Ridgway. He studied at Bishop Vesey's Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1667 he married Emma Barnard, daughter of Sir Henry Barnard of Bridgnorth and London. They had three children. The first child, Francis, died at the age of nineteen, while his daughter Cassandra Willoughby married the Duke Chandos, who was a patron of Mark Catesby. His second son was Thomas, who became Baron Middleton, one of ten peers created by Queen Anne.
At Cambridge Francis Willoughby was taught by the naturalist John Ray. In 1662 they travelled to the west coast of England to study the breeding seabirds. Between 1663 and 1666 they toured Europe together, travelling through the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. They separated at Naples and Willoughby returned home via Spain. On returning to England they made plans to publish the results of their studies. Willoughby died from pleurisy during the preparation of this work, but Ray published Willoughby's Ornithologia libri tres in 1676, with an English edition two years later. This is considered the beginning of scientific ornithology in Europe, revolutionizing ornithological taxonomy by organizing species according to their physical characteristics. Willoughby and Ray were among the first to dismiss the older inaccuracies of Aristotle. Aristotle had claimed that swallows hibernated but Willoughby and Ray (1678:212, quoted in Raven 1942:328) wrote: 'To us it seems more probable that they fly away into hot countries, viz. Egypt, Ethiopia etc.' Ray also published Willoughby's De Historia Piscium (1686). The Willoughby family seat, Wollaton Hall, now owned by the City of Nottingham, houses Willoughby and Ray's natural history collection of stuffed animals and birds. The Willoughby papers are amongst the Middleton collection held at the Nottingham University Library. From Wikipedia