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Darwin Correspondence Project

From O. G. Rejlander   30 April 1871

1, | Albert Mansions, | Victoria Street, | S.W.

Apr. 30/71.

My dear Sir

It is very difficult to get, at will—those expressions you wish— Few have the command or imagination to appear real— — In time—I might catch some—1 —So I have tried in propria persona— —even cut my moustache shorter to try to please you in the last batch—. The crying baby in the arms of the Boy you see I have had enlarged for you—and so can any other be treated.—2

You ask for a Bill— — You cannot pay for good will

For all the photogrs. you have had I will lump it at £3.3.— And—for each plate that you may want to make use of I will charge only 10/.3

I have worked thro’ the two Vols you pleased to present me with— —4 Whether I agree or not it has helped to enlarge my mind—and certainly my reason cannot believe in the creation of an Adult+ at any one time any more than of a plant jumping full grown into existence.

Yours very truly | O. G. Rejlander

+“And the eyes were opened and the light did not effect them—and could at once discern all the dif. distances— And gastric juice was in the stomack but did not corrode the lining—and the liver & kidneys were active—on nothing— And the blood was there—injected?”— — — — It’s getting absurd—5




No letter from CD to Rejlander asking for photographs of particular expressions has been found. CD probably saw Rejlander in London between 1 and 5 April (see letter to Elliott & Fry, 23 April [1871] and CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
The ‘last batch’ may be a series of eight photographs of Rejlander in various poses now in DAR 53.1: C40–6 (see John van Whye, ed. 2002–, The complete work of Charles Darwin online,, for images). Two photographs of a boy holding a crying baby (DAR 53.1: C47, C48) are reproduced as enclosures to this letter (see also Expression, plate 1, fig. 3, facing p. 148); the enlargements are at DAR 53.1: C129, C130, but are of poorer quality.
CD recorded a payment of £5 5s. to Rejlander on 2 May 1871 and a further £7 7s. on 14 March 1872 (CD’s Classed account books (Down House MS)).
Rejlander probably refers to Descent.
Rejlander is probably making a joke with reference to Genesis 3:7: ‘And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.’
The photograph on the left is reproduced at 90 per cent of its original size; the one on the right at 80 per cent.


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


Since it is difficult to catch the expressions CD wants, OGR is posing himself.

Letter details

Letter no.
Oscar Gustaf Rejlander
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Victoria St
Source of text
DAR 53.1: C47, C48, 176: 115
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7728,” accessed on 21 October 2019,

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