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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. C. Wallich   24 February [1872]1

9. Devonshire Street | Portland Place

Feb 24th

My dear Sir

You gave me the enclosed charming photograph.2 Now I am going to beg a great favour, which it is quite likely you may not wish to grant.— In my little book on Expression I wish to give a plate by the Heliotype process of 2 or 3 smiling faces. For this process the negative is required. Now shd you object to lending me the negative, with the permission to state that the Photograph was done by you.—3

You must, of course, have not the slightest scruple in refusing me.— But if you grant this favour, could you send me the negative to above address by Delivery Coy soon, as I want much to get the Heliotypes plates finished soon.—

Was the smile intentionally assumed? or taken when the sitter did not know what you were doing?

My dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin




The year is established by the address. CD stayed at 9 Devonshire Street from 16 February until 21 March 1872 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
CD refers to a photograph of Wallich’s daughter, Beatrice Harriet Wallich. The photograph is in DAR 53.1: C50.
In Expression, p. 202, CD cited Wallich for providing the photograph, which appears facing page 202 (plate 3, figure 2). The heliotype process was a recent innovation that allowed for the printing of multiple copies of photographs. See Abney 1876, pp. 143–8, and Prodger 1998, p. 399.


Abney, William de Wiveleslie. 1876. Instruction in photography. 3d edition. London: Piper & Carter.

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

Prodger, Phillip. 1998. Photography and The expression of the emotions. In The expression of the emotions in man and animals, by Charles Darwin, edited by Paul Ekman. London: HarperCollins.


Asks for the negative and permission to publish photo of smiling girl. [Expression, p. 202, plate III, fig. 2.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Charles Wallich
Sent from
London, Devonshire St, 9
Source of text
Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher collection); DAR 53.1: C50
Physical description
ALS 2pp photo

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8223,” accessed on 15 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20