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Darwin Correspondence Project

To A. R. Wallace   5 [July 1870]1

Down | Beckenham | Kent S.E.

June 5—

My dear Wallace

As imitation & protection are yr subjects I have thought that you wd like to possess the enclosed curious drawing. The note tells all I know about it.2

yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S | I read not long ago a German article on the colour of female birds, & the author leaned rather strongly to your side about nidification.3 I forget who the author was, but he seemed to know a good deal.— | C.D


The month and year are established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from A. R. Wallace, 6 July 1870. CD evidently wrote ‘June’ by mistake.
The drawing and note have not been found; however, see the letter from A. R. Wallace, 6 July 1870.
CD refers to Wallace’s theory that the colour of female birds that sat on open nests had been modified as a result of the protection gained by camouflage (see Wallace 1867a, [Wallace] 1867b, Wallace 1867c, Wallace 1868; see also Correspondence vol. 16, letter to A. R. Wallace, 15 April [1868] and nn. 3 and 4, and letter from A. R. Wallace, 4 October 1868). The German article has not been identified.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Wallace, Alfred Russel. 1868. A theory of birds’ nests: shewing the relation of certain sexual differences of colour in birds to their mode of nidification. Journal of Travel and Natural History 1 (1868–9): 73–89.


CD sends a "curious drawing" [missing] relating to imitation and protection.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent from
Source of text
The British Library (Add MS 46434: 204–5)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7218,” accessed on 27 February 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18