Portraits Photo of Charles Darwin

On a portrait of Charles Darwin

Down House

On a portrait of Charles Darwin

Some extraordinary things are coming together in the Wellington Arch in London. English Heritage is getting ready to open a new exhibition in the Quadriga Gallery (The Birth of Archaeology and the Battle for the Past), which opens next week – the first public event in a year of celebration of the Ancient Monuments Consolidation & Amendment Act 1913 (really!). They should’ve given the act a snappier name: it is in fact a great story.

Anyway, among the stuff being unpacked and examined in the arch when I was there on Wednesday, were three portraits: an oil of John Lubbock, an oil of General Pitt-Rivers, and a photo of Charles Darwin.

Pearson 1914The latter (above, ready to hang), is from Darwin’s home at Down House, managed by English Heritage. Online it’s sometimes described as 1859 (the year his On the Origin of Species was published), which would be great – we also have a first edition copy of the book in the show, and the flint handaxe that John Evans and Joseph Prestwich took back to London from the quarry at St Acheul, also in 1859 (another story, but the find that amongst other things, showed archaeology could write history). But when was the photo really taken?

Down House backOn the face of it, that date comes from an odd book by Karl Pearson (1914) about Francis Galton (it has an unsettling obsession with genealogy). He reproduces the image as below:

Pearson says Darwin (February 12 1809–1882) is aged 51, which would mean the photo was taken between February 12 1860 and February 11 1861. Which is nearly there, but not quite.

(Interestingly, Pearson also notes that the photo was “touched up by Mrs Darwin”. Comparison of images here suggests she was particularly concerned with his trousers.)

Darwin & Seward 1903When the Down House print was unpacked in the arch, I was able to look at the back of the frame. There are two stickers, including a business label from Messrs Maull & Fox, at 187a Piccadilly.

I learnt about Henry Maull (1829–1914) from a useful website about London photographers. Maull traded from a number of addresses, typically three at any one time, and with a number of different partners. One of those addresses was 187a Piccadilly, Westminster (above Hatchards booksellers), where he had premises between 1857 and 1885, and the business continued there under Maull’s name until 1924. His name appeared above the shop in four guises:

Harper's Magazine 18841. Maull & Polyblank: partnership with George Henry Polyblank (1828–?), May 1857–March 1865.

2. Henry Maull: after this partnership was dissolved, Maull re-established himself on his own, March 1865–1871.

3. Henry Maull & Co: 1872–1877.

4. Maull & Fox: a new partnership with John Fox (1832–1907), 1878–1885; the partnership was dissolved in 1885, but the studio continued until 1924 under successive owners with the original name.

So this print must have been made, or at the very least framed and sold, some time between 1878 and 1924. Apparently after it was sold, on two occasions notes were added which suggested the photo was taken in 1859: one says “original taken about 1859”, the other, in a different hand, “…taken about the time of the publication of the ‘Origin’. Belonged to William & later to Horace Darwin. J.D.”

Charles Darwin 1869 Portrait Photo Famous People Photos 8x10
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London musts

by snorkler

I went there on business, scouted everything, and took my wife and stepdaughter.
Westminster Abbey. You stand among giants like Chaucer, Darwin, Livingstone, Stanley, and Churchill.
Tower of London. Take a tour. The history of this place is unforgettable.
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Daily in the summer, every other day in the winter. Watch the old guard come from the east, the new guard from the south (Wellington Barracks), and the dizzying anachronism of a centuries-old tradition modernized with wool-clad Scottish highlanders carrying fully-automatic weapons

Bird brainiacs: The genius of pigeons  — New Scientist
Before a visit from his friend the geologist Charles Lyell, Darwin wrote: "I will show you my pigeons! Which is the greatest treat, in my opinion, which ..

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What are some interesting/strange facts about Charles Darwin?

Charles Rober Darwin, the naturalist, was made famous in scientific communities for his work in Geology following publication of his work after his five year journey aboard the Beagle.
He is one of only five non-royals to be honored with a state funeral and buried at Westminster Abbey.

Girl Power
Does anyone know any "really" interesting facts about charles darwin?

I'm doing a project on Charles Darwin, but i don't have any interesting facts, all my facts sound dull and i guess everyone else have that also , so.. please help, thanks ^^

Try looking up his biography in books---or at least sources that investigate his life in length. the shorter stuff only tells the basic details.

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