skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. H. Flower   12 May [1863]1

Leith Hill Place2

May 12th

My dear Sir

I am staying from home & your letter has followed me;3 but I shall return home tomorrow & shall then, no doubt, find the Photographs. I am extremely much obliged to you for your kindness, & will inform M. Quatrefages that he owes the Photograph to you. He evidently was very anxious for a copy. I will tell him about the Cast.—4

Will you be so kind as to inform me what I am indebted for the Photograph & I can repay you.—5 Perhaps I will get copies for myself; if they will do for woodcuts; for I shall briefly describe this curious variety in my book on Variation under Domestication.6

Pray believe me, with very many thanks | My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. H. Flower, 9 May 1863.
According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), the Darwin family visited Leith Hill Place, near Dorking, Surrey, the home of Josiah Wedgwood III, from 6 to 13 May 1863.
In his letter to CD of 9 May 1863, Flower wrote that the photographs of the niata ox skull at the Hunterian Museum that CD had requested for Armand de Quatrefages had been sent. CD had also asked Flower whether a cast of the skull might be made (see letter to W. H. Flower, 13 April [1863], and letter from W. H. Flower, 9 May 1863).
According to CD’s Classed account book (Down House MS), CD made a payment of 17s. for the photographs on 25 May 1863.
Niata cattle were discussed in Variation 1: 89–91, 2: 66; however, CD did not include an illustration of the breed.


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


Thanks WHF for photographs [of niata ox skull]. Will tell Quatrefages de Bréau about the cast. May have the photographs copied for woodcuts to illustrate his book on variation under domestication.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Henry Flower
Sent from
Leith Hill Place
Source of text
Bonhams (dealers) (13 March 2002)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4158,” accessed on 21 June 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11