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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   6 April [1865]1

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

Ap 6th.

My dear Sir

I have heard from Mr Murray2 & I shd be much obliged if you wd forward this note to Mr Wells.3 I shall be much obliged to him if he will draw & have engraved on wood, with the same care as displayed in your drawing of the Smerle, figures of a Pouter, Carrier, Short-faced Tumber, Barb Fantail, Turbit & Jacobin. 4 These are to be first-rate birds, but not exaggerated. The enclosed paper shews the exact size of the type in the page (without the heading) of the book in which they are to appear.5

The figures may be upright, which is best, or transversely; but Mr Murray remarks that wood cuts look better with a little margin.6 I observe that the figure of the Barb in the Field7 is too large for the head reaches beyond the enclosed piece of paper.

The character of the beak ought in all cases to be particularly attended to.

I suppose Mr Wells can get an estimate or contract for the cutting on the wood, for Mr Murray wishes Mr Wells first to send an estimate to him of the whole cost of the 7 figures, & this ought to be the first thing done.

I can settle hereafter about drawings of fowls’ head & some other things.8 There is no great hurry, I suppose, (for I do not know how long wood cutters take) but I shall not go to press till August.9

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

P.S. | Please address

Messrs Murray & Cook10

50 Albemarle St. | W.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Murray, 1 April 1865.
The note has not been found. Luke Wells was the artist recommended by Tegetmeier to prepare the pigeon illustrations for Variation (see letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 March [1865], and letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, 27 March 1865).
CD refers to Wells’s drawing of the smerle pigeon in the Field (see letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 March [1865] and n. 6). In addition to providing a drawing of Columba livia from a dead bird, Wells was commissioned to prepare drawings from living representatives of six domestic breeds of pigeon (Variation 1: 135 n. 6). The breeds illustrated were the English pouter, English carrier, English barb, English fantail, African owl, and short-faced English tumbler (Variation 1: 137, 140, 145, 147, 149, 152).
The enclosure has not been found.
CD refers to Wells’s illustration of the barb pigeon in the Field, 18 February 1865. Tegetmeier sent CD a packet containing this and four other issues of the Field with his letter of 27 March 1865 (see letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, 27 March 1865 and n. 1); these items are in DAR 138.3 and are lightly annotated.
See letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 March [1865] and [7 April 1865].
John Murray had asked CD to correspond with his cousin and partner Robert Francis Cooke while Murray was in France for three weeks (see letter from John Murray, 1 April 1865).


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


Instructions for Luke Wells about woodcuts for Variation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4804,” accessed on 25 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13