skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   23 April [1871]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Ap. 23d

My dear Mr Murray

I am sorry to trouble you with so many notes.—2 You once lent me, as I believe, the first Edit. 1806 of Sir C. Bell’s Anat. of Expression.3 I want very much to see it again for a few days. Would you venture to send it me, either by Post, (if not too large which I forget) or addressed C. Darwin Esqre

Orpington Stn


☜ Per S.E. Railway

If you fear to send it I must wait till next in London.—

Please tell me how soon you shd. wish for cheap. Edit. of Origin, so that I may arrange my plans & time.4

Yours very sincerely | Ch Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Origin 6th ed., which sold for only 7s. 6d., much less than the fifth edition’s price of 14s. Origin 6th ed. was published in February 1872. (Pall Mall Gazette 31 July 1869, p. 16; Freeman 1977.)
CD’s last letter to Murray himself was that of 13 April [1871], however, he had also been in correspondence with Murray’s business partner, Robert Francis Cooke (see letter to R. F. Cooke, 22 April [1871].)
No other correspondence with Murray concerning Charles Bell’s Anatomy of expression in painting (Bell 1806) has been found. CD first read Bell 1806 in 1840 (see CD’s Reading notebooks, Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV); Murray did not become his publisher until 1845. CD’s annotated copy of the third edition, Bell 1844, is in the Darwin Library–CUL. CD stated his preference for the third edition in Expression, p. 2.


Bell, Charles. 1806. Essays on the anatomy of expression in painting. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme.

Bell, Charles. 1844. The anatomy and philosophy of expression as connected with the fine arts. Preface by George Bell, and an appendix on the nervous system by Alexander Shaw. 3d edition, enlarged. London: John Murray.

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

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


Asks JM to lend him his copy of 1st edition (1806) of Charles Bell’s Anatomy of expression.

JM should tell him when he wants new cheap edition of Origin, so he can arrange his plans and time.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms. 42152 ff. 240–1)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7709,” accessed on 5 December 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19