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Darwin Correspondence Project

To R. F. Cooke   8 May 1871

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

May 8. 1871

My dear Sir

I should be much obliged if you cd get an estimate of the cost of printing photographs by the processes which you named to me, to illustrate my book on expression & gestures.1 If the cost is not greatly increased by giving 2, 3 or 4 photos on one plate, the printing process wd be better than wood cuts, as I shd like to give several drawings of each expression. I enclose 4 photos such as I shd require though I do not know whether these actual ones will be given.2 I wish for an estimate of the cost of one of these figures, & of 2 on the same plate not folded; & again, of 3 or 4 figures on a plate once folded.3

Wd it make any difference to give 5 or 6 heads of infants on a plate of the same size as above.4

The estimate shd be for 1000 copies, though I suppose we shd want 2000 of each plate, & probably some 1000s for foreign editions.5 I shd require to know whether the estimate includes paper. I shd be able to supply negatives; so that their cost need not be included.

My book wd be of the size of the descent of man; please to specify the proper way of notifying this size.

How can the plates & figures be numbered?

The worst objection which I have heard against the printing processes is that the plates are turned out of very unequal merit.

My dear Sir | yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin

P.S Be so good as to return the photographs.


Cooke had recommended the heliotype process for Expression. See letters from R. F. Cooke, 26 April 1871 and 28 April 1871.
The photographs used in Expression, with CD’s instructions to the printer, are in DAR 53.1.
Expression contained seven photographic plates, three of which were folded.
See Expression, pl. 1 (facing p. 148).
Seven thousand copies of Expression were published in two printings (Freeman 1977, p. 143).


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.


Sends photographs he intends to use in Expression and asks for estimates of cost per thousand of each process [Woodburytype and Heliotype] suggested by RC and for different numbers of photos on each plate.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert Francis Cooke; John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms. 42152 ff. 289–90)
Physical description
LS 4pp & ADraftS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7744,” accessed on 24 March 2023,

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