At the start of 1863, Charles Darwin was actively working on the manuscript of The variation of animals and plants under domestication, anticipating with excitement the construction of a hothouse to accommodate his increasingly varied botanical experiments, and continuing a massive scientific correspondence. Six months later the volume of his correspondence dropped markedly, reflecting a decline in his already weak health. Although Darwin worried about the effect of the quarrels on public perceptions, his theory was gathering support in influential scientific circles. He struggled with leaf angles, fractions, diagrams, and shoot dissections.
Darwin was a photography enthusiast. This is evident not only in his use of photography for the study of Expression and Emotions in Man and Animal, but can be witnessed in his many photographic portraits and in the extensive portrait correspondence that Darwin undertook throughout his lifetime. His close friend and botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker would come to call Darwin’s epistolary exchange of photographic images as his “carte correspondence”.
'As for Mr Darwin, he is entirely fascinating…' In October 1868 Jane Gray and her husband spent several days as guests of the Darwins, and Jane wrote a charming account of the visit in a sixteen-page letter to her sister. She described Charles and Emma Darwin, their daughter Henrietta, Down House and its grounds, the daily routine of the household, and her own part in one of Darwin’s experiments.
Read and search the full texts of more than 8,500 of Charles Darwin’s letters, and ﬁnd information on 6,500 more. Discover complete transcripts of all known letters Darwin wrote and received up to the year 1872.
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