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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Philip Lutley Sclater   12 May [1862]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

May 12th

Dear Sclater

Mr Bartlett told me at the Gardens that the Japanned Peacock (I forget at moment your name) appeared amongst Mr Gurney’s birds.1 As he is an ornithologist perhaps you know him & if so would you have the great kindness to write & ask particulars; or if not can you tell me his address & I would write as a stranger. The chief point would be to know whether his birds appeared pure & whether any Japanned Peacocks lived anywhere near, so that there could have been a recent cross. I shd. be very much obliged if you would kindly aid me & the point no doubt will interest you.—

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


Philip Lutley Sclater was secretary to the Zoological Society of London. Abraham Dee Bartlett was superintendent of the society’s gardens in Regents Park, London. CD was working on material for chapter 8 of Variation (see letter to William Darwin Fox, 12 May [1862], n. 6). In Variation 1: 291, CD stated that, through Sclater, he had received information from Hudson Gurney about his having reared ‘a pair of black-shouldered peacocks from the common kind’. Sclater believed, in contrast to CD’s view (see letter to William Darwin Fox, 12 May [1862], n. 6), that the ‘japanned’ peacock should be regarded as a distinct species from the common form, and named it Pavo nigripennis (Sclater 1860).


Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Asks for information about japanned peacocks from Hudson [John Henry?] Gurney’s flock.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Philip Lutley Sclater
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.276)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3543,” accessed on 13 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10