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Darwin Correspondence Project

1.7 Ouless replica

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Following Darwin’s death in 1882, Walter William Ouless painted a replica of the portrait that had been commissioned from him by the Darwin family in 1875. This replica is signed and dated at lower left ‘W. W. Ouless 1883 replica’. It was acquired in unknown circumstances by Darwin’s old college, Christ’s College, Cambridge, either by a direct commission or a donation, and evidently had a commemorative purpose. This occurred before 1897, when Atkinson and Clark documented it as hanging in the college hall; as it was viewable there, it was not listed among the exhibits loaned to the Darwin Centenary exhibition held at Christ’s College in 1909. It became much better known than the first version of the picture, which was then still in the possession of the Darwin family, and the histories of the two works have often been confused in the literature. 

  • physical location Christ’s College, Cambridge 

  • accession or collection number CC00006 

  • copyright holder Christ’s College, Cambridge 

  • originator of image Walter William Ouless  

  • date of creation 1883 

  • computer-readable date 1883-01-01 to 1883-12-31 

  • medium and material oil on canvas 

  • references and bibliography Thomas Dinham Atkinson and John Willis Clark, Cambridge Described and Illustrated: Being a Short History of the Town and University (London: Macmillan and Cambridge: Macmillan and Bowes, 1897), p. 414, ‘replica by Ouless of the picture painted for W.E. Darwin, Esq.’ J.W. Goodison, Catalogue of the Portraits in Christ’s, Clare and Sidney Sussex Colleges, Cambridge Antiquarian Records Society, vol. 7 (Cambridge: 1985), p. 11, no. 17. Cambridge Portraits from Lely to Hockney, Fitzwilliam Museum exhibition, 1978, no. 20. Janet Browne, ‘Looking at Darwin: portraits and the making of an icon’, Isis 100 (2009), pp. 542–570 (p. 553). 

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