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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. G. Stokes   11 March [1868]1

4 Chester Place | Regents Park | N.W.

March 11th

My dear Sir

After writing to you I suddenly remembered that there were albino Peacocks, of which I enclose the two best, but very poor, feathers which I could get.2 On one of these I can see no eye; on the other, when held obliquely, a trace of the eye. These feathers, I suppose, show how true your view is that the colours are due to a thin coloured film.—3 I thought that you possibly would like to see these feathers & that it wd. give you no trouble to receive them & throw them away.

If you can at any time tell me whether the successive zones of colour require films of different colours, or may be caused by a change of thickness or some other change in a uniformly coloured film, I shd be grateful. During next 3 weeks my address will as above;4 afterwards at my home, “Down Bromley Kent”.—

Pray excuse me troubling you & believe me | Yours very truly obliged | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from G. G. Stokes, 27 February 1868.
For Stokes’s explanation of the colour in a peacock’s tail, see the letter from G. G. Stokes, 27 February 1868.
CD stayed at Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood’s house from 11 March until 1 April 1868 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).


Sends GGS examples of feathers from an albino peacock and repeats his query about the zones of colour [see 5950].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Gabriel Stokes, 1st baronet
Sent from
London, Chester Place, 4
Source of text
CUL (Add MS 7656: D75)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6003,” accessed on 8 April 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16