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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edward A. Smith   [before 30 June 1869]1

Please to keep carefully the accompanying engraved plates as they are taken from valuable engraved works.2

Please to return these memoranda.

The wood-cuts must be fac-similes, done neatly & lightly

(Pl. 25 from Milne-Edwards) fig. 1 the anterior part of a crab, as much as is included in the pencil outline.3

(Annals & Mag. of Nat. Hist. Pl. XI) fig 3a; I think a line drawn across the limb, above & below, where cut off, looks best. Also Fig 9 & 10 from same plate. These 3 figures to be arranged close together on the same block, & in a fitting position4

Four wings of Butterfly, exact copies of AA’ BB’—to be placed much closer together on same block5

(Tab. X from Landois) fig 1 & 2 on same block to be put closer together; in fig 2. all the skin beneath the teeth (as shewn by the pencil line) need not be engraved; alter the letter of reference in fig 1 from s into r.

Fig 3 & 4 to be placed on same block nearer to each other: attend to the dotted line which runs from r to the second nervure, & is not shewn plainly in the engraving; attend to letters of reference.—

Fig 5 on a block by itself. Cut off top of.

Fig 6 & 7 on same block; in fig 7 omit some skin on each side, as shewn by pencil lines.

Fig 8 on block by itself. Give all the letters of reference changing rl into r.6

Ch. Darwin

Down, Beckenham, Kent.—

The Plates can be returned to

C. Darwin

6 Queen Anne St

Cavendish Square7

To be left till called for


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to E. A. Smith, 30 June [1869]. The addressee was previously thought to be Edgar Albert Smith, a son of Frederick Smith’s, but is now thought more likely to be Edward A. Smith, an entomological illustrator, also a son of Frederick Smith’s (Census returns, and Peter Dance, personal communication).
Smith was making woodcuts for Descent.
See Descent 1: 330 fig. 4 and Milne-Edwards 1834–40, 4: fig. 25. Versions of the woodcut are in DAR 81: 61 and 71. CD’s annotated copy of Milne-Edwards 1834–40 is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 579–81). CD has circled the part of the drawing of a crab that he wanted Smith to reproduce.
See Descent 1: 329 fig. 3 and Annals and Magazine of Natural History 11 (1853): fig. 1 (facing p. 25). The plate is from Lubbock 1853a. Versions of the woodcut are in DAR 81: 57 and 60. The figure is of parts of a specimen of Labidocera, a copepod.
See Descent 2: 133 fig. 52. The woodcut was taken from a drawing by Roland Trimen (see Correspondence vol. 16, letter from Roland Trimen, 13 January 1868). A version of the woodcut is in DAR 84.1: 169. The woodcut is complete, whereas Trimen’s drawing has had one wing cut out of it.
The woodcuts referred to were taken from Landois 1867, table 10. CD’s annotated copy, which includes the pencil marks referred to in this letter, is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. For figs. 1 and 2, see Descent 1: 357 fig. 13; there are corrected proofs in DAR 81: 39, 40. For figs. 3 and 4, see Descent 1: 353 fig. 10; there are corrected proofs of it in DAR 81: 44 and 45. For fig. 5, see Descent 1: 354 fig. 11; there is a corrected proof in DAR 81: 62. For figs. 6 and 7, see Descent 1: 379 fig. 24; there are corrected proofs in DAR 81: 41, 43. For fig. 8, see Descent 1: 380 fig. 25; there is a corrected proof in DAR 81: 63.
Six Queen Anne Street, London, was the address of CD’s brother, Erasmus.


Sends engraved plates with instructions about illustrations for Descent.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edgar Albert Smith
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 81: 35–6
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7051,” accessed on 17 November 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17