Born in Sheffield, England, in 1805, Westwood originally trained to be a lawyer but instead pursued his avocations of entomology and archaeology. He is regarded as one of the foremost entomologists of his era.
He served as a curator and professor at Oxford University and served as an entomological referee for the Gardner's Chronicle.
Westwood also was a Fellow of the Linnean Society and president of the Entomological Society of London.
In 1837 Westwood described affinis, apparently unaware the species had previously been named Catocala antinympha by Jacob Hübner.
"Many of his works, such as the 1848 volume The Cabinet of Oriental Entomology, are incredibly detailed and feature richly painted scenes of insect and plant life."
Westwood's is also noted for his recycling propensities. Regarded as an eccentric, he frequently recorded and drew on the back side of whatever paper scraps were available.
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