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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edwin Lankester, Ray Society1   4 March [1851]

Down Farnborough Kent

March. 4th.

My dear Sir

Will you be so kind as to lay the following request before the Council: Eight Plates were granted me, of which two were to be coloured; I now find my materials (in part owing to new specimens received since my former communication) require rather more illustration; on the other hand, I think I can do very well with only three figures all three in Tab. I. coloured; now would not the saving of the colouring of one whole Plate & the greater part of another pay for one other Plate; if so, I should esteem it a great favour & assistance if the Council would on these terms allow me nine Plates.—2

I now address myself to you privately to know whether there could be any objection to my having (if I find it requisite) a 10th additional Plate at my entire cost; & can you give me an idea what the printing off & Paper for an octavo Plate comes to.— If you cannot, will you tell me how many copies are printed off, & then probably Sowerby3 can tell me rudely what the total cost wd. be.—

Lastly, some weeks since I wrote to Sowerby to ask whether his estimate had been finally agreed to by the Ray Soc. & he answered me that he had not heard from you: I want in a very few weeks to begin engraving, so will you please arrange with him: Be so good as to observe that in accordance with your instructions, I have made the Plates rather fuller than were the skeletons lent to you; & I presume Mr Sowerby ought to be informed of this.—

An early answer as I am now daily at work with M.S. & arranging the Plates to my query about the 10th Plate at my own cost, & whether you think the Council wd. grant me the 9th, & lastly about Mr. Sowerby’s contract, would very much oblige me.—4

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin


Lankester was secretary of the Ray Society. The Ray Society published Living Cirripedia (1851, 1854).
Living Cirripedia (1851) has ten plates; none is coloured.
George Brettingham Sowerby Jr, who engraved the plates for both volumes of Living Cirripedia (1851, 1854) and for Fossil Cirripedia (1854).
Lankester wrote ‘Ansd EL.’ at the top of CD’s letter, but his reply has not been located.


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

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.


Asks EL to request the Council [of the Ray Society] to permit him to have nine plates [for vol. 1 of Living Cirripedia] instead of eight (of which two were to be in colour) and a tenth plate if he pays for it himself.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edwin Lankester; Ray Society
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Physical description
5pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1395,” accessed on 27 November 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5