skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Bowerbank   10 September [1850]

Down Farnborough Kent

Sept. 10th

My dear Sir

I require, (as I before mentioned to you) four or five woodcuts to illustrate points in Introduction on nomenclature,1 & have got Mr Sowerby to make the drawings on wood, as far more accurate than having them subsequently copied.— May I direct him to get them cut; if they are sent to some stranger, I do not know how the expence of the drawing on wood & the cutting is to be proportioned.—

I see most authors give the short Specific Description in English, one in Latin alone, & Mr S. Wood in Latin & English;2 I thought of following the latter; do you approve? I think the Descriptions shd be anyhow in Latin, & I can give the English also if approved of.—3

Will you send me one line with orders about my woodcuts., & your opinion on the subject of Latin & English.

Your’s very sincerely | C. Darwin

What a sad pity it is that you stitch your annual parts in one vol. for the year— What a poor show it makes! & how inconvenient to those who never (as I for one never do) bind their books.—4


In addition to the three woodcuts showing the names of the valves of Cirripedia, Fossil Cirripedia (1851) has a woodcut of the inside view of the scutum of the female Scalpellum ornatum, showing the cavities in which CD found two males (p. 15). CD thought that such depressions might be found in fossil as well as recent species of Scalpellum.
CD refers to the descriptions in the first volume of Wood 1848–56, which was published by the Palaeontographical Society.
In both volumes of Fossil Cirripedia (1851, 1854) the specific descriptions are in Latin and English. George Brettingham Sowerby Jr provided Latin translations of CD’s species descriptions. CD’s Account Book (Down House MS) records the payment of seven guineas to Sowerby on 24 June 1850 for ‘Translation of Specific Descriptions’. CD then paid John Price, an old friend from his student days, to correct the Latin. An entry in his Account Book of 4 August 1850. reads: ‘Price for correcting Sowerby Latin 5s per hour 2 14 6.’
Palaeontographical Society publications were issued to subscribers in annual volumes, each volume consisting of one or more monographs or parts of monographs. It was intended that the annual volumes be split into their component numbers and the complete monographs be bound separately. CD’s Fossil Cirripedia (1851, 1854) was originally issued as the third number of volume five (1851) and the fifth number of volume eight (1854) (Freeman 1977, p. 68). CD’s set of Palaeontographical Society publications is in the original annual volumes (Darwin Library–CUL and Down).


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

Fossil Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the fossil Balanidæ and Verrucidæ of Great Britain. By Charles Darwin. London: Palaeontographical Society. 1854.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.


Discusses woodcut illustrations [for Fossil Cirripedia, vol. 1]. Wants species descriptions to be in both Latin and English.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Scott Bowerbank; Palaeontographical Society
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.96)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1353,” accessed on 29 May 2023,

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