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Darwin Correspondence Project


To R. F. Cooke   28 May [1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 28th

My dear Sir

I am greatly obliged for all the information about printing Photos. The Heliotype seems considerably the cheapest, & I think I could not do better than try one set of Plates.2 What do you think? I shall come to London in 6 or 7 weeks, possibly rather sooner, & then I will arrange with Mr. Rejlander about sending the negatives of some.—3 Will you take the trouble, if you agree with me, to write one line to this effect to Mess Edwards & Kidd.4 It will be very important for my work to have as good illustrations as possible, & of course I must be as careful as I can about cost.

There is one other element to ascertain, & to inform me, viz the cost of Mr Coopers engraving: he has done two & is doing a third: they are excellently done, but some of my friends tell me that they think, photos wd be better than even fac simile engravings, in as much as the former are a guarantee of absolute accuracy.5 What must be done about lettering the Photos.? I cannot possibly tell the number of each plate till book nearly ready, & then there will be great delay in printing them.— Could they be numbered by Hand?

Kindly aid me by thinking over the points in this note, & believe me | Your’s very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

P.S. A naturalist to my surprise applied to me the other day to translate into Sweedish my old Journal of Researches:6 I told him that I believed Mr Murray would, at my request, supply stereotypes of the few cuts in it, at little more than cost price. Will he so far oblige me.?—


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to R. F. Cooke, 8 May 1871.
CD was considering which of several methods to use in reproducing the photographs for Expression. See letter from Joseph Cundall to R. F. Cooke, 19 May 1871. See also letter to R. F. Cooke, 8 May 1871, and letter to John Murray, 10 May [1871] and n. 2.
CD visited London from 24 to 30 June 1871 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). Oscar Gustaf Rejlander was taking photographs for CD for Expression.
Edwards & Kidd was a London firm that produced heliotypes. See letter to R. F. Cooke, 22 April [1871].
CD refers to James Davis Cooper. See letter to R. F. Cooke, 22 April [1871] and n. 4.
See letter to Gustav Lindström, 16 May [1871].


More discussion of the illustrations for Expression.

A Swedish naturalist [G. Lindström] has asked to translate the Journal of researches.

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Cooke, R. F.; John Murray, Publishers
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms. 42152 ff. 280–2)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7773,” accessed on 25 October 2016,