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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edwin Lankester, Ray Society   7 November [1850]

Down Farnborough Kent

Novr. 7th.

My dear Sir

I posted yesterday to Mr Sowerby, some skeleton Plates, showing size of figures, number on Plate &c. Perhaps he will forward these to the Council, with 4 finished drawings, which he has made for me: or if you think fit you can direct him to send them. In either case may I particularly beg you to preserve all carefully & return them to me.— I asked Mr S. to send in his Estimate immediately. Please to remember that if the Council require it I will pledge myself not to exceed 8 Plates, & I think in any case this will suffice.

Allow me to remind you that I have not heard about the colouring: no doubt shells look poor without colour: but for purely scientific ends, if I had one or two Plates coloured it would suffice. Before the Plates are engraved, I must have instructions, for those coloured would have to be engraved rather more lightly.—

With respect to my M.S. for the Lepadidæ, I have some difficulty in answering, partly on account of my Pages containing very unequal quantities (which I have endeavoured to rectify by counting the words in several pages) but chiefly from your not having told me in what type the Council would wish the Book to appear in. Hence I must trouble you with two or three Estimates.—

If my M.S. were printed in the type used in Dr. Baird’s Entomostraca,1 (containing 360 words in Page) it would run out, as nearly as I can possibly estimate, to 192 pages; this, size, however, strikes me as quite useless in a series of descriptions. I think the work would look quite well enough, if the specific characters were printed in this larger type, & the detailed descriptions in the small type (530 words in Page) used in the “Reports of Zoology & Bot. for 1841 & 1842”;—in this case I believe my M.S. would go in 150 pages.— Or lastly if a uniform type was decided on, the larger of the two (400 in Page) used in the above Report appears to me very good, & then the number of my Pages would be 175.—2

I fear my second Systematic Part will be fully twice the size of this & certainly ought to have more than twice the number of Plates.3 I do hope that the Council, if they do not publish one Part in 1851, will publish all in 1852.; otherwise my monograph will be so greatly delayed.4

Pray believe me, my dear Sir | Your’s sincerely | C. Darwin


Baird 1850, also published by the Ray Society.
The first volume of Living Cirripedia (1851) came to 400 pages, plus ten plates, and was set in the same type size as William Baird’s monograph on the British Entomostraca (see n. 1, above). The increase in the number of pages was no doubt in part due to the change from three to two volumes. See letter to Edwin Lankester, 27 October [1850], n. 3.
The second volume of Living Cirripedia (1854), published in 1854, ran to 640 pages and included thirty plates. The reason it is not twice the length of the first volume is because the descriptive sections were set in smaller type, as CD here suggests.
At a council meeting of the Ray Society held on 18 November 1850 it was resolved ‘to publish Mr. Darwin’s Part I of the Cirripedes for the year 1851’ (Ray Society Minutes).


Baird, William. 1850. The natural history of the British Entomostraca. London.

Living Cirripedia (1851): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidæ; or, pedunculated cirripedes. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1851.

Living Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Balanidæ (or sessile cirripedes); the Verrucidæ, etc. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1854.


Has sent G. B. Sowerby Jr some skeleton plates [for vol. 1 of Living Cirripedia] which the Council [of the Ray Society] may also wish to see, along with GBS’s finished drawings. He reminds EL that he has not heard about colour for the plates and adds he has not been told what type should be used; gives estimated lengths of part 1 in different sizes of type (part 2 will be fully twice the size of this). Hopes if the Council does not publish part 1 in 1851 it will publish all in 1852.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edwin Lankester; Ray Society
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1367,” accessed on 21 October 2021,

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