Darwin’s Photographic Portraits

Charles Darwin, 1878, Leonard Darwin, Dar 225:119, ©Cambridge University Library

Charles Darwin, 1878, Leonard Darwin, Dar 225:119, ©Cambridge University Library

Darwin’s picture is everywhere. It’s on the £10 bank note, it’s all over this website, and in most science textbooks. But where exactly did these images that we know so well come from?


The archives of the Darwin Correspondence Project are full of various photographs made for and of Darwin – the largest collection relating to Darwin’s work on Expressions and Emotions in Man and Animal. But when you look more closely at his letters, there are hundreds more photos – ones that were sent and received in the post by Darwin and his scientific friends. Many of these photographic letters now only contain a reference to the portrait – with the image removed from the enclosure and placed in a frame or in an album.


Darwin’s photographic portraits were sent everywhere. They were included in letters, sold in shops and reproduced in newspapers. Here, we bring together a list of the various photographs which were produced of Darwin throughout his life, and a discussion of who did the producing.


For more information please see our new article on Darwin’s Photographic Portraits.


Posted by Geoff Belknap

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