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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Greaves   14 December 1877

Mrs Greaves | 14 Pittville Parade | Cheltenham

Decr. 14th. 1877


I take the liberty to send you a Pamphlet written by a friend of my late husband’s & which, I think may interest you—1

I am not quite a stranger to some of the members of the Darwin family for in my youth I used to accompany Aunt Hadley and her children on a visit to Mrs. Darwin of Breadsall Priory—2 I am now the widow of the Revd. R: Greaves— At Eliza Hadley’s death her brother Dr. H. gave me the Picture of Dr. E: Darwin, painted by Wright of Derby—3 I suppose that, it was given to Aunt Hadley, her sister Miss Parker had one also, which she gave to a relative, & she sold it to the National Portrait Gallery—4

It has come into my mind, that perhaps you would like to have it, I would willingly give it, but my income is so limited that I am unable to do so. My chief reason for parting with it is, that I must leave this large house, and go into smaller quarters, & my beautiful picture wd. be in the way.

I am, Sir | Your’s respectfully | Elizth. A: Greaves


The pamphlet has not been identified. Greaves’s husband was Richard Greaves.
Aunt Hadley was Susanna Hadley, daughter of Erasmus Darwin and Mary Parker Sr; she helped bring up Elizabeth Greaves (King-Hele 1999, p. 357, and Correspondence vol. 26, letter from E. A. Greaves to Francis Darwin, 26 June 1878). Breadsall Priory, near Derby, was the home of Erasmus Darwin and his second wife, Elizabeth Darwin (King-Hele 1999, p. 330).
Elizabeth Susanna Hadley was the daughter of Henry and Susanna Hadley. Her brother was also named Henry Hadley (1812–74). The portrait of Erasmus Darwin owned by Greaves was painted by Joseph Wright in 1792–3; several versions of the painting were made by Wright and multiple copies exist (see Correspondence vol. 26, letter from E. A. Greaves to Francis Darwin, 26 June 1878, and M. Keynes 1994).
Susanna Hadley’s sister was Mary Parker Jr. The portrait of Erasmus Darwin in the National Portrait Gallery is a copy of an earlier painting by Wright made in 1770 (King-Hele 1999, p. 97).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Keynes, Milo. 1994. Portraits of Dr Erasmus Darwin, F.R.S., by Joseph Wright, James Rawlinson and William Coffee. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 48: 69–84.

King-Hele, Desmond. 1999. Erasmus Darwin. A life of unequalled achievement. London: Giles de la Mare Publishers.


Offers to sell CD a portrait of Dr Erasmus Darwin by Joseph Wright of Derby.

Letter details

Letter no.
Elizabeth Anne Hadley/Elizabeth Anne Greaves
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 165: 218
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11280,” accessed on 5 December 2022,