He was born in Swansea into a propertied Welsh family. He went to London to qualify as a barrister, which he did. His greater passion however was for conchology. He was not satisfied simply to form a collection but was interested in all aspects of the biology of molluscs.
He retired from the law in 1856 and began a series of dredging operations aboard his yacht, Osprey, purchased from his brother-in-law. Accompanied by other specialists in marine life such as Edward Forbes (1815–1854), Charles William Peach (1800-1886), the Reverend Alfred Merle Norman (1831-1918), George Barlee (1794-1861), Edward Waller (1803-1873) and William Thompson (1805–1852), he dredged the seas around the Shetlands, the west of Scotland, the English Channel, the Irish Sea and Greenland. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society on 2 April 1840. He died in London in 1885. His collection of shells and specimens was bought by William Healey Dall (1845-1927) on behalf of the National Museum of Natural History.
He was the author of a number of books and articles on conchology and the mechanics of sea dredging; of particular note was British Conchology, or an account of the Mollusca which now inhabit the British Isles and the surrounding seas (five volumes, 1862 - 1865).
Translated from French Wikipedia