skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. B. Tegetmeier to John Murray and Robert Francis Cooke   17 April 1865

Muswell Hill, N.

April 17 1865


My friend Mr Darwin has requested me to overlook the drawings of some pigeons and fowls for his forthcoming work.2 I have seen Mr Wells the Artist who has made the drawings for The Field3 his terms would be 30s/. per subject for drawing on the wood.—full page size. as he declined to undertake the engraving, I have seen Messrs Butterworth & Heath who have engraved our blocks and obtained an estimate from them which I enclose4

I should prefer the drawings to be made by Mr Wells as he is exceedingly careful and truthful in his work. I am not at all particular as to the engraver, but as Messrs Butterworth & Heath engrave Mr Wells drawings very well I obtained the estimate from them, I should be glad of your authorization to enable Mr Wells to proceed with the work

I am Gentlemen | Yours obdtly | W B Tegetmeier

Messrs Murray & Co

I have left a specimen of the blocks as drawn and engraved for "The Field5


356 Strand W.C.

April 10, 1865

Dear Sir

In reference to the engravings for Dr. Darwin’s book about which you spoke to us today, we think the cost would be £2·10/– each— We understand them to be single birds, drawn in the style of those we are engraving for ‘the Field’.6

We remain dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Butterworth & Heath

W. B. Tegetmeier, Esq.


Murray had asked CD to send any correspondence to his cousin and partner, Robert Francis Cooke, during the first three weeks of April (see letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 6 April [1865] and n. 10).
See letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 March [1865], 28 March [1865], and [7 April 1865]. Tegetmeier refers to Variation.
The reference is to Luke Wells and to a series of illustrations of pigeons in the Field (see letters from W. B. Tegetmeier, 27 March 1865 and n. 5, and 10 April 1865, and letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, [7 April 1865], n. 2). The Field was an illustrated weekly paper that carried articles on country pursuits and natural history; Tegetmeier was editor of the poultry section (see letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, [after 27 February 1865]).
Butterworth and Heath were a firm of wood-engravers with premises at 356 Strand, London (Post Office London directory 1865).
Tegetmeier refers to the engraved wood blocks from which the illustrations for the series on pigeon breeds in the Field were printed (see letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, 27 March 1865 and nn. 5 and 7).
Six of the engravings of pigeon breeds in Variation are signed by Butterworth and Heath (see Variation 1: 135, 137, 140, 145, 147, 152).


Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.

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


CD has asked him to supervise drawings of pigeons and fowls [for Variation]. Sends estimates for drawings and engravings by artists who do such work for the Field.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Bernhard Tegetmeier
John Murray; Robert Francis Cooke
Sent from
Muswell Hill
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 136–138)
Physical description
3pp enc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4815,” accessed on 24 June 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13