Asks GRW if there is any easy systematic work on Lepidoptera for his sons. Considers making out the names from descriptions fine practice for the intellect; mere collecting is idle work.
Down Farnborough Kent
My dear Waterhouse
Two of my Boys are become ardent Lepidopterists, & I
want much to know whether there is any systematic work on Lepidoptera,
tolerably easy. I really sh
John Lubbock has lent me Humphreys & Westwoods magnificent work, but here again there is nothing like a Synopsis; & it would take hours to go dipping through the volume to find the several Families, & pick out the essential characters out of the diffuse descriptions. Does a Book such as I want, exist on British Lepidoptera?
How strange if such does not exist. Will you be so kind as to illuminate me.—
Yours most truly | C. Darwin
For the Butterflies Stephens does pretty well, as he gives some sort of a Synopsis; but what wretched latinised English he does use.
- f1 1713.f1William, aged 15, and George, aged 10. See letter to W. E. Darwin, [25 April 1855].
- f2 1713.f2Stephens 1829. A lightly annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL. CD used this catalogue when he was an enthusiastic collector during his undergraduate years at Cambridge.
- f3 1713.f3Westwood 1839–40. CD's annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
- f4 1713.f4Westwood 1841, arranged and illustrated by Henry Noel Humphreys.
- f5 1713.f5From CD's comments it is probable that he refers to Stephens 1828–46, pt 2, Haustellata. Volume four, which deals with the Lepidoptera, has a brief synopsis of the group on pp. 398–402.