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Darwin Correspondence Project

To James de Carle Sowerby   12 February [1850]

Down Farnborough Kent

Feb. 12th.

My dear SIr

I find coming to London so disagrees with my health, that I shall not attend anniversary of Geolog. Soc.—1 Will you, therefore, be so good as to send me a line when you have finished all the drawings, & I will soon or immediately come up & bring several others to be drawn.—

If you can with any honesty do purloin a proof-sheet of Mr Dixon’s Plate with Cirripedes.2 for me.—

Yours sincerely | C. Darwin

I beg your pardon for troubling you, but I shd. be glad to have, when you write, a memorandum of what I shall owe you for present drawings,3 as a guide how far I may indulge myself in all the future ones.—


The anniversary meeting of the Geological Society was on Friday, 15 February 1850.
F. Dixon 1850, Tab. xxviii. See letter to Richard Owen, 10 September [1850]. Fossil Cirripedia (1851): Tab. I (fig. 2) reads: ‘Scalpellum angustum:—carina, dorsal and lateral views of, copied from Dixon’s “Geology and Fossils of Sussex,” Tab. xxviii, fig. 9’.
When this letter was written, CD thought he was employing Sowerby in a private capacity and expected to pay for the engravings. After it was decided that the Palaeontographical Society would publish CD’s work on fossil Cirripedia, the society paid for the cost of the plates. Sowerby was already one of the engravers employed by the society.


Dixon, Frederick. 1850. The geology and fossils of the Tertiary and Cretaceous formations of Sussex. London.

Fossil Cirripedia (1851): A monograph on the fossil Lepadidæ, or, pedunculated cirripedes of Great Britain. By Charles Darwin. London: Palaeontographical Society. 1851.


Because of health, CD will postpone coming to London until all drawings are finished.

Asks JdeCS, if he is able "with any honesty", to "purloin" for him a proof-sheet of Frederick Dixon’s plate with cirripedes [in Geology and fossils … of Sussex (1850)].

Requests statement of total owed to JdeCS as a guide to the future.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James de Carle Sowerby
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1303,” accessed on 4 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4