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Letter 7146

Darwin, C. R. to Günther, A. C. L. G.

23 Mar [1870]


Expresses his “unbounded admiration” for Mr Ford’s woodcuts [for Descent]. Thanks AG for his kindness.


Down, Beckenham | Kent

March 23

Dear Günther

As I do not know Mr. Ford’s address, will you hand him thisnote, which is written solely to express my unbounded admirationof the woodcuts. I fairly gloat over them. The only evil is thatthey will make all the other woodcuts look very poor!

They areall excellent, & for the feathers I declare I think it the mostwonderful woodcut I ever saw: I cannot help touching it to makesure that it is smooth. How I wish to see the two other & evenmore important ones of the feathers & the four other Reptiles&c.— Once again accept my very sincere thanks for all yourkindness. I am greatly indebted to Mr Ford. Engravings havealways hitherto been my greatest misery & now they are a realpleasure to me.—

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin.

I thought I shd have been in press by this time, butmy subject has branched off into sub-branches, which have cost meinfinite time, & Heaven knows when I shall have all my M.Sready, but I am never idle.—f2

P.S. Please ask Mr Ford to keep my rough sketches of feathers & my notes,as I am much puzzled what to do about the letters of reference to the differentmarks & dots.—f3

Gunther 1975, p. 32



The year is established by the reference to George Henry Ford’swoodcuts for Descent. Ford seems to have started work on thewoodcuts of feathers in September 1869 (see Correspondence vol. 17,letter to Albert Günther, 27 September [1869]). Descent waspublished early in 1871 (R. B. Freeman 1977).
CD had originally planned a ‘chapter on man’ as part ofVariation: it eventually grew into two works, Descent andExpression (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter to J. D. Hooker, 8 February [1867]).
The illustration that CD refers to is presumably Descent2: 146, fig. 58.
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