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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. de C. Sowerby   8 July [1850]1

Down Farnborough Kent

July 8th

My dear Sir

I am heartily glad to get the arranged Plates, & I trust now you will make some good progress.— I like the arrangement much: do not reduce the figures of any of the species too much for the sake of crowding them together, but of course I do not wish to cause useless expense for the Society.—2 〈    〉

I think it wd. certainly be better to have, (if convenient) all of S. maximus on one Plate.3 Please observe I mean now provisionally to treat S. maximus var lineatum, as a distinct species, & it must be figured with that [ … ] (scutum) lately sent to you by Post, but which you do not acknowledge. This S. lineatum had better go near to S. hastatum.4 〈    〉

I am particularly glad that you have introduced all the foreign species.—5

NB. ☝ Please to get me drawings for (3) Woodcuts done first as their cutting will otherwise delay my going to Press with the first sheets: when done please send them here by Post with my rough drawings.—6

I thank you much for your progress, & do pray advance as quickly as you can: I shall be most anxious to see first Proof Plate.—

Your’s sincerely, | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. de C. Sowerby, [8] June [1850] (Correspondence vol. 4). A very brief description of this letter from a sale catalogue was published in Correspondence vol. 4; this transcription is from images and a partial transcription in a later sale catalogue.
Sowerby was preparing the plates for Fossil Cirripedia (1851); he probably sent CD the scheme of plates that he had submitted on 28 June 1850 to the council of the Palaeontographical Society, the publishers of the work (Palaeontographical Society Minute Book, Natural History Museum). The Palaeontographical Society, which employed Sowerby for engraving work, was paying for the plates. CD had asked to see the arrangement of figures on the plates in his letter to J. de C. Sowerby, [8] June [1850] (Correspondence vol. 4).
The figures showing Scalpellum maximum appear on plate 2 of Fossil Cirripedia (1851).
Figures 11 and 12 on plate 2 of Fossil Cirripedia (1851) depict Scalpellum lineatum; figures 11a and 11b show the scutum of S. lineatum. In Fossil Cirripedia (1851), p. 10, CD stated that the term scutum denoted the most important and persistent of the cirripede valves, and that descriptions of the different valves were especially important in fossil species. Scalpellum hastatum is shown in figures 13a–d on plate 2 of Fossil Cirripedia (1851).
CD had been given special permission by the Palaeontographical Society to include foreign species in Fossil Cirripedia (1851). See this volume, Supplement, letter to J. S. Bowerbank, [24 April 1850] and nn. 2 and 3.
CD probably refers to the three woodcuts showing the nomenclature of the valves of Cirripedia that are in the introduction to Fossil Cirripedia (1851), p. 9.


Has received plates. Gives instructions for scale and arrangement of engravings.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James de Carle Sowerby
Sent from
Source of text
Sotheby’s, New York (dealers) (17 June 2010)
Physical description
** 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1343,” accessed on 26 April 2017,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement) and 4