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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Thomas Woolner   6 December 1867

29, Welbeck Street, | W

Dec 6th 67

Dear Mr. Darwin

I was afraid that on account of a severe cold I caught last Monday upon another just going away that I should have been too knocked up to begin work next Monday,1 but today felt so much better that I had had the clay packed and Railway people sent to to fetch it, when I learned that my young brother had to start for Monte Video on the 14th. of this month instead of Jan: as I expected; and the consequence is that I have so much to arrange for him that I cannot possibly get away just yet.2 I hope this will not in any way cause you inconvenience; but to me it is very provoking as I thought that at last I saw my way to a clear beginning of the bust.3 So soon as I get clear of an entanglement of things suddenly come upon me beside this primary one (which I trust will take only several days beyond the 14th.) I will write and ask if I may come then.—

Very truly yours | Thos: Woolner

Best thanks for your note anent trains.4

Please give the enclosed to Mrs. Darwin— it is from my Mon: to Mrs. A. Peel now in Wrexham Church.5


Woolner had been engaged to make a bust of CD, who expected him to start work at Down on Monday 9 December 1867 (letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 November [1867]). See also letter from J. D. Hooker to Emma Darwin, 11 December 1867. On 11 December 1867, Hooker wrote to Woolner inviting him to Kew to recover from influenza (Woolner 1917, pp. 280–1).
The reference is probably to Henry Woolner (see Woolner 1917, p. 70).
CD finally sat for Woolner in November 1868 (Correspondence vol. 16, letter to J. D. Hooker, 26 November [1868]). Woolner finished his marble bust of CD in 1870 (Woolner 1917, p. 340). In June 1869, Woolner completed a medallion of CD, which he sent to William Erasmus Darwin; it was later manufactured by Josiah Wedgwood & Sons (Woolner 1917, pp. 283, 340). See also Freeman 1978, pp. 94, 306.
The note has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
Woolner made the monument ‘Heavenly welcome’ in memory of Mary Ellen Peel and her eldest son; it was erected in Wrexham church in 1867 (Woolner 1917, pp. 242, 339). The enclosure has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL, but may have been a collotype of the work (see ibid., facing p. 126).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Woolner, Amy. 1917. Thomas Woolner, R.A., sculptor and poet: his life in letters. London: Chapman and Hall.


Will have to delay starting on the bust of CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Woolner
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Welbeck St, 29
Source of text
DAR 181: 160
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5707,” accessed on 9 February 2023,

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