skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   3 [September 1855]1

Down Farnborough Kent


My dear Huxley

I think your Diagrams will do very well.— What an advantage to be able to sketch easily! no one has a right to attempt to be a naturalist who cannot.—2 I have made a few pencil marks— The chief correction is the position of the great ganglion, which ought to be more to left-hand.— I never cd. see cement-gland in Lepas, though I traced cement-duct some way up peduncle; but from the analogy of 4 other genera its most probable position is where I have put cross.3

I think the stomach ought to be larger, though of course there is some variability in its size according to its contents &c. in same species.—4

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin [DIAGRAM HERE] The lower end of œsophagus rather more bell-shaped; more medial; whole upper end of stomach broader, as I have put it: cæca arise where bell-end of oesophagus joins the stomach— Put the Cement gland (see my Pl. IX fig 3) here: & let the ovarian tubes & cæca branch out & fill the whole peduncle.— In Peduncle there ought to be transverse & oblique muscles It wd. be more strictly correct, but really does not signify on this scale, if the antennæ were put a little more to left. ie not quite medial, or not at basal point of peduncle. [DIAGRAM HERE] The main sub-œsophageal ganglion ought to be more to left, where I have put pencil cross— The whole stomach ought to be larger & I think this wd also make your drawing plainer: you had better not have put in cæca, as their presence is evidently of very little importance. The arborescent testes ought to extend posteriorly over whole stomach, but perhaps you purposely leave them out to prevent confusion.— You had better draw two thin reddish-brown lines from the ovaria to within the Antennæ.


The date is based on annotations on related drawings among the Huxley papers indicating that Huxley collected specimens and prepared drawings of marine invertebrates, probably for use in his natural history lectures at the Government School of Mines, during his stay in Tenby in August and September 1855. Huxley had given his first series of twenty-four lectures commencing in November 1854. The 1855–6 series was extended to fifty lectures and, according to an announcement in the Athenæum, 16 February 1856, commenced on 20 February 1856. Some of the diagrams prepared at Tenby in 1855 appeared in the published versions of these lectures (printed in the Medical Times and Gazette during 1856 and 1857), and the cirripede drawings accompanying this letter were used in the published lecture on the Cirripedia (see n. 4, below).
Julian Huxley wrote of his grandfather: ‘Huxley was a great scientist and a great man of letters; if he had had time and opportunity he would have been a great artist as well.’ (J. S. Huxley ed. 1935, p. 5). On Huxley’s skill as an illustrator, see Newth and Turlington 1956.
The published versions of the Lepas and Balanus drawings (T. H. Huxley 1857) show that Huxley made the revisions suggested by CD.


Athenæum. 1844. A few words by way of comment on Miss Martineau’s statement. No. 896 (28 December): 1198–9.


Approves drawing. No one who cannot draw should attempt to be a naturalist. Suggests corrections to [Lepas?] drawing. Comments on position of ganglia, cement glands, and stomach.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 18)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1759,” accessed on 7 July 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5