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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. L. Brunton   [29] October [1874]1

2⁠⟨⁠3 Somer⁠⟩⁠set St | ⁠⟨⁠L⁠⟩⁠ondon W

Oct⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠

My dear Sir

On receiving your letter which I found on my table awaiting my return from the Continent, I felt sure that the photograph had been lost in the post and so I intended as soon as I could spare time to go down to the Crystal Palace again and see whether another of the same sort could be had.2 ⁠⟨⁠3 or 4 words⁠⟩⁠ the likely ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ London ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ could ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ of but in vain & as I had only ⁠⟨⁠seen⁠⟩⁠ the one at the Crystal Palace I felt rather down hearted about the matter. Luckily however my papers had got into such confusion that I determined to set to work and arrange them all. In doing so I came on the missing photograph which I now send. In going through the Glyptothek at Munich3 and the collections of busts in Venice and Florence I have been much struck by the ineq⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ be⁠⟨⁠tween⁠⟩⁠ the two side⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠of the⁠⟩⁠ face in antiqu⁠⟨⁠e⁠⟩⁠ portrait busts. This is not so marked in modern o⁠⟨⁠n⁠⟩⁠es, in⁠⟨⁠de⁠⟩⁠ed it is hardly to be seen in them. It is sometimes observable in antique statues even when not portraits but it is then only slightly marked. One of the most interesting busts that I have seen is that of Hannibal in the Glyptothek in Munich4   One side of the face is quite undeveloped all the features being much smaller than in the ⁠⟨⁠o⁠⟩⁠the⁠⟨⁠r⁠⟩⁠ side ⁠⟨⁠2 or 3 words⁠⟩⁠ this was ⁠⟨⁠ca⁠⟩⁠used by paralyse⁠⟨⁠d⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ childhood ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ which his lav⁠⟨⁠is⁠⟩⁠hness was also in ⁠⟨⁠2 or 3 words⁠⟩⁠ due. Another general whose name I forget but whose portrait bust I saw some years ago in the Walhalla at Regensburg had a similarly unsymmetrical face.5

I have been promised two leaves of the Papaw very shortly and as soon as I get the action on meat tried I will let you know.6 The plant is still young and my friend is waiting until the leaves grow a little before giving them to me.

I remain my dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | T Lauder Brunton


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to T. L. Brunton, 30 October 1874.
In his letter to Brunton of 25 September 1874, CD noted that a photograph of a painting that Brunton had said he was sending him with his letter of 4 September 1874 had not arrived. The painting by Jusepe de Ribera was formerly thought to be of St Mary of Egypt, and is now considered to be of St Agnes. It is in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden. See also letter from T. L. Brunton, 2 November [1874]. A postcard of a drawing of a detail in the painting is in DAR 53.1: A40. The Crystal Palace was an exhibition space rebuilt on Penge Common, Sydenham Hill, south London, in 1854, after the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851.
The Munich Glyptothek opened in 1830 as a museum built to house Greek and Roman antiquities.
In Baedeker (Firm) 1871, p. 66, under the entry on the Glyptothek hall of heroes, the following item appears: ‘154. Hannibal, a bust, the right eye drooping (which he is said to have lost from illness)’. Brunn 1870, p. 200, stated that the bust had been identified as Hannibal because the right eye was smaller than the left, and Hannibal’s eye was injured by freezing before a battle at Trasimenischen. The head and modern bust are now separated in the Glyptothek collection. Since 1900, the head (inventory number: Gl 296) has been known as the ‘head of a barbarianâ’ (Furtwängler 1900, p. 303).
Walhalla (opened in 1842) is a neo-classical building on the banks of the Danube River, east of Regensburg; it houses a hall of fame honouring distinguished people in German history. There are several busts of generals in the hall.
Brunton was planning some experiments on the digestive properties of the papaw (Carica papaya); see letter from T. L. Brunton, 4 September 1874. He described the digestive action of the ferment papain (made from pawpaw) in Brunton 1885, pp. 777–8.


Brunn, Heinrich. 1870. Beschreibung der Glyptothek König Ludwig’s I. zu München. 2d edition. Munich: Theodor Ackermann.

Brunton, Thomas Lauder. 1885. A text-book of pharmacology, therapeutics and materia medica; adapted to the United States pharmacopœia. London: Macmillan & Co.

Furtwängler, Adolf. 1900. Beschreibung der Glyptothek König Ludwig’s I. zu München. Munich: Commissioned by A. Buchholz.


Forwards a photograph he thought had been lost. Has noticed that the two sides of the face are often asymmetric in portrait busts and statues.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Lauder Brunton, 1st baronet
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Somerset St, 23
Source of text
DAR 160: 341
Physical description
ALS 4pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9701,” accessed on 24 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22