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Darwin Correspondence Project

3.11 Edwards, in Illustrated London News

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A photograph of Darwin by Ernest Edwards, showing him in three-quarter view to the left, must have been taken at the same session as the profile published in Men of Eminence in 1866. The baggy sleeve of Darwin’s coat looks almost identical, but here his hands are loosely clasped, and, due to the change of angle, the chain of a watch or eyeglass can now be seen dangling from his neck. The chair-back visible in the Men of Eminence photograph has disappeared, and the various surviving prints show other signs of cosmetic retouching. Evidently Edwards issued this photograph as a separate work, and it was given wider currency by a wood engraving that appeared in the Illustrated London News in 1871, accompanying an article about Darwin. This engraving reversed and reduced the image, and rounded off the top corners, but the original can be recognised by the appearance of the coat sleeve, shirt collar, and the links of the chain. This engraved image was in turn quickly adapted to form a roundel in Harper’s Weekly, copied again as an oval composition serving as the frontispiece to the Swedish translation of Descent of Man (1872), and finally reissued by the Illustrated London News itself as a roundel, to accompany a commemorative article on Darwin in April 1882. No doubt there were many other adaptations. 

  • physical location Darwin archive, Cambridge University Library 

  • accession or collection number DAR 232.2 

  • copyright holder Syndics of Cambridge University Library 

  • originator of image Ernest Edwards 

  • date of creation c.1865–1866 

  • computer-readable date c. 1865-01-01 to 1866-12-31 

  • medium and material albumen photographic print 

  • references and bibliography Illustrated London News, 58:1640 (11 March 1871), p. 244, wood engraving captioned ‘Mr C.R. Darwin, author of “The Origin of Species”’, accompanying an article on Darwin on p. 243. Harper’s Weekly, 15:745 (8 April 1871), p. 308, wood engraving with the same caption, accompanying an article on Darwin on pp. 310–311. Menniskans Härledning och Könsurvalet af Charles Darwin, translated by Rudolf Sundström (Stockholm: Albert Bonniers Förlag, [1872]), frontispiece. Illustrated London News (April 1882).   National Portrait Gallery online catalogue. See also the entry for Edwards’s 1866 profile photograph of Darwin in Men of Eminence. J. van Wyhe, ‘Iconography’, pp. 141, 165. 


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