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Darwin Correspondence Project

From R. F. Cooke   1 August 1872

50A, Albemarle Street, London, W.

Augt. 1 1872

My dear Sir

I was glad to receive yr letter & will now try to answer yr questions.1

There will be no difficulty on the part of Messr. Clowes, keeping up the type, as long as is reasonable, as it is only one volume of 400 pages.2 The cost of a set of stereotypes will be £30. The cost of composing the work is only about £40 & I should have thought it would have been better for Appleton to reset afresh from the printed sheets rather than pay carriage duty &c. They know best. What wd. you propose to charge them for stereotyplates of the letterpress above the £30.?3

A set of Electros of the woodcuts I think we might charge £10, as Cooper’s account is £70.4 What say you?

In regard to the right of translation. Is not each country to pay something for the privilege, besides paying for the electros & heliotypes? If so, are we to write to Dr. Kowalevsky & Koch & what shall we ask or have you agreed to let them have it for love!!!5

We might safely print off above 5000 sets of Heliotypes, to save delay as we shd. require 3000 no doubt to begin with & the Americans, wd. most likely wish as many or more & Dr. Kowalevsky told Mr McLeod he wd. want 4000!!!6

I think it wd be better for all the transactions & orders for the heliotypes to pass through our hands & we charge a small percentage on the cost price & so does Mr McLeod.

We shall publish early in Novr. I suppose. You are not ready yet to go to press I suppose.

Are we to write to Koch & what am I to say.

Mr McLeod says their own reputation is at stake & they will look carefully through all the plates before they are sent in.7 He cannot give me the cost for 5000 before tomorrow & you shall see the writing before any are printed off.

Besides American—Russian & German, I suppose you expect a french, italian & dutch translation.8

We should think £6.0.0 enough for the Index, unless you prefer Mr Dallas & like to offer £8.0.09

All your payments to artists shall be settled for whenever you like.

Our cashier is away & so is Mr Murray (in Scotland) & I imagine yr cheque has been overlooked.10 I will see to it.

I agree with you that all the Heliotypes supplied for foreign editions & Electros shd. be paid for in advance.

I will write again after hearing from you.

Yours faithfully | Robt. Cooke

Charles Darwin Esq

CD annotations

2.2 The cost of … above the £30.? 2.6] ‘(Does this include the Blocks)’ added ink
End of letter: ‘(Cost of Heliotypes)’ pencil, del pencil ‘checking [amt]. ’ ink, del pencil


William Clowes & Sons were the printers of Expression.
D. Appleton & Co. preferred to print the American edition of Expression using stereotypes (see letter from D. Appleton & Co., 23 February 1872, and letter to R. F. Cooke, 29 July 1872).
James Davis Cooper engraved the woodcuts for Expression (Expression, p. 26).
Vladimir Onufrievich Kovalevsky had requested permission to translate Expression into Russian (see letter from V. O. Kovalevsky, 30 March 1872). Eduard Friedrich Koch of the Stuttgart publishing firm E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung had requested a formal authorisation for the German translation by Julius Victor Carus (see letter to R. F. Cooke, 29 July 1872). CD did not charge for translation rights, but he sometimes asked for a percentage of the profits (see, for example, letter to V. O. Kovalevsky, 10 August [1872]).
McLeod was a representative of the London Heliotype Company, the firm that produced the photographic plates for Expression using a new process called heliotyping. McLeod has not been further identified.
The Heliotype Company had only recently been formed; the plates for Expression may have been the company’s first large order (see Prodger 2009, pp. 108–10).
The French translation of Expression was Pozzi and Benoît trans. 1874; the Italian translation was Canestrini and Bassani trans. 1878; the Dutch translation was Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen trans. 1873.
William Sweetland Dallas had prepared the indexes for Variation and Descent (see Correspondence vols. 16 and 19).
Cooke refers to John Murray. CD had enquired about a sum of £315 that was to be paid into his bank (see letter to R. F. Cooke, 29 July 1872).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.

Prodger, Phillip. 2009. Darwin’s camera: art and photography in the theory of evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Answers CD’s questions on arrangements for forthcoming publication of Expression – including cost of stereotypes, woodcuts, and photo reproductions for foreign translations.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert Francis Cooke; John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50a
Source of text
DAR 171: 411
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8444,” accessed on 24 October 2021,

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