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Darwin Correspondence Project

To V. O. Kovalevsky   24 June [1867]1

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

June 24—

Dear Sir

On my return home this morning your kind & magnificent present of Brehm’s Illustrirtes Thierleben had safely arrived. I am very glad to possess this work with its astonishing number of illustrations & I thank you very sincerely for it. The wood cuts will do admirably to illustrate my book.2

When I left London this morning your other present of the bear skin had not as yet arrived, but I dare say it soon will.3

I send by this post two sheets & I hope you have received all the previous ones.4

Believe me dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to V. O. Kovalevsky, 3 June [1867].
Kovalevsky had suggested using woodcuts from Alfred Edmund Brehm’s Illustrirtes Thierleben (Brehm et al. 1864–9) to illustrate his Russian translation of Variation (see letters from V. O. Kovalevsky, 15 May 1867 and [after 24? May 1867]). CD had mentioned in his letter to Kovalevsky of 3 June [1867] that he did not have a copy and did not know where he could find one. Four of the six volumes of Brehm et al. 1864–9 (dated 1864–7) are in the Darwin Library–Down; they are annotated (see Marginalia 1: 69–71). See also letter from H. J. Meyer, 30 July 1867.
Kovalevsky had offered to send CD a bearskin (see letter from V. O. Kovalevsky, 24 April [1867]). In a letter to Hope Elizabeth Wedgwood dated ‘Summer 1867’, Henrietta Emma Darwin wrote: Did I tell you about the enormous bear I found on my arrival making it dangerous to go into the best room as he was put there for a mat & has an enormous head to tumble over & 4 large paws with sharp slightly upturned nails which tear yr. gown and scratch yr. legs? Cos if not this Kowalewski who is the Russian translator of Papa’s new book, sent it as a gage d’Amour. & when he wrote to say that he was coming to England on purpose to see Papa we had to have the enormous thing in the drawing room where we endanger life & limb over it many times every evening …
CD was sending Kovalevsky the proof-sheets of Variation.


Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

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


Thanks VOK for the present of A. E. Brehm’s Illustrirtes Thierleben [1864–7].

The woodcuts will do admirably [for Variation].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Vladimir Onufrievich Kovalevsky (Владимир Онуфриевич Ковалевский)
Sent from
Source of text
Institut Mittag-Leffler
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5575,” accessed on 20 October 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15