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Darwin Correspondence Project

From R. F. Cooke   26 April 1871

50a, Albemarle Street, London, W.

April 26 1871

My dear Sir

I have seen & made enquiries as to the Woodburytype & Heliotype process & expenses & the result is, that for the purpose of book illustration I think the latter has the advantage.1

From the conversation I had at Edwards & Kidd I imagine, your plates cd. be done, including paper & print about 3 farthings each & no mounting is required.2

If however you can send up one of your subjects & tell them exactly the scale you require they will give an exact estimate of price, as it will come cheaper, according to the number of copies printed.

We have already despatched the copy of the “Descent” to Loescher of Turin & tomorrow we will send off the copy to Profr. Carus of Leipzig.3

As regards the cheap edition of Origin, if it be done, we should like to have it ready for our Trade sale in Novr. next.

I am now working out, an estimate for it, to see what it can be sold for & how many must be printed to make it pay.4

If I can manage it I will go again to Edwards & Kidd, in the hope of seeing one of the principals, & obtain more information, as I imagine there is the expense of the negatives, extra.

Yours faithfully | Robt. Cooke

The “Times” has not injured the sale, it is going on nicely.5

C. Darwin Esq

CD annotations

2.2 including … require 3.2] scored blue crayon
4.1 We have … going on nicely. 9.1] crossed pencil
Top of letter: ‘(Are negative necessary)’6pencil


Cooke refers to the plates for Expression, which were produced by Edwards and Kidd.
The rights for the Italian translation of Descent (Lessona trans. 1871) were later transferred from Ermanno Loescher to Luigi Pomba (see letter from Luigi Pomba, 6 May 1871). Julius Victor Carus was translating Descent into German (Carus trans. 1871). See letter from John Murray, 12 April [1871] and n. 2, and letter to J. V. Carus, 25 April [1871].
Origin 6th ed. was not published until February 1872 (see Freeman 1977). The ledgers for all six editions of Origin are reproduced in Peckham ed. 1959, pp. 775–85.
This annotation may be a note for a letter to R. F. Cooke that has not been found; see letter from R. F. Cooke, 28 April 1871.


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

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.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Believes heliotype process is best for book illustrations. Has sent copies [of Descent] to Loescher and Carus.

Is working on an estimate for the cheap [6th] edition of the Origin.

The Times review has not hurt sales of Descent.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert Francis Cooke; John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50a
Source of text
DAR 171: 396
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7719,” accessed on 20 September 2020,

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