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Darwin Correspondence Project

DCP-LETT-7665

To Thomas Woolner   7 April [1871]1

Down

April 7

My dear Mr. Woolner

I dare say you often meet and know well painters. Could you persuade some trustworthy men to observe young and inexperienced girls who serve as models, and who at first blush much, how low down the body the blush extends. Several eminent surgeons have been observing for me, and with a single exception have never seen a blush extend beneath (and rarely so far down) as the upper 23 of the breasts.2

Moreau says a celebrated French painter once saw a new model blushing all over her body.3 So that I want much to hear what the experience is of cautious and careful English artists: I always distrust memory. Can you aid me?

The tips to the ears have become quite celebrated. One Reviewer (Nature) says they ought to be called, as I suggested in joke, Angulus Woolnerianus.4

A great German physiologist is very proud to find that he has tips well developed & I believe will send me a photograph of his ears; & if a good case, I think I would have it photographed on wood engraved for new Edit.5 Making of course no change in my text.

Yours very sincerely, | Ch. Darwin

Footnotes

1
The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Hinrich Nitsche, 18 April 1871; see n. 5, below.
2
See for example Correspondence vol. 17, letter to James Paget, 29 April [1869] and n. 3. CD had also asked James Crichton-Browne to observe women blushing (see Correspondence vol. 18, letter to James Crichton-Browne, 18 March 1870).
3
Jacques Louis Moreau de la Sarthe’s comment was reported in Lavater 1820, 4: 303–4; see Expression, pp. 314–15. The painter has not been identified.
4
The Angulus Woolnerii was discussed in Nature by Philip Henry Pye-Smith (Pye-Smith 1871). See also letter from Thomas Woolner, 20 February 1871 and n. 2.
5
No earlier letter from Hinrich Nitsche has been found, but see the letter from Hinrich Nitsche, 18 April 1871. CD did not add pictures of Nitsche’s ears to any edition of Descent.

Summary

Asks TW to persuade painters to observe how far down body blush extends on models.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-7665
From
Darwin, C. R.
To
Woolner, Thomas
Sent from
Down
Source of text
DAR 148: 381, Woolner 1917, p. 288
Physical description
1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7665,” accessed on 27 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7665

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