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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Charles Wallich   18 April [1869]1

Down. | Beckenham. | Kent. S.E.

April 18

My dear Sir

I should for many reasons be very glad to oblige you in any way. But to come to you to be photographed would certainly lose me two whole days & probably three.2 Nor, owing to my health, would it be at all certain if I came to London that I shd. be able to go to you next morning.— I really cannot spare so much time, with the chance of subsequent unwellness.— I am very sorry but so it must be. I have already refused some half dozen requests, but none with a quarter of the regret that this causes me.—

If you think it worth while (which I much doubt) to come here, I shall be very glad to do all I can to aid you.— You can, if you like sleep here. Orpington Station (on the S.E.R. Charing Cross) is 4 miles from my house, & I could send a vehicle for you & probably also send you back. Or if your time is precious you could start early in morning & be here in very good time.— We could fit up a small dark closet, in which my son formerly photographed.3 Even if your photograph was not first rate, no one would probably detect it.— But you could easily get to 16 good men, without taking so much trouble for me.—4 I can only repeat my regret, & say that here I shall be most happy to do anything I can which you may require.—

My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

P.S If you decide to come, please let me hear.—


The year is established by the publication date of Wallich’s Eminent men of the day (Wallich 1870), and from the form of the address, which CD began to use in April 1869. The preface of Wallich 1870 is dated May 1870.
CD had corresponded in 1860 with Wallich about the results of deep-sea soundings made by Wallich (Correspondence vol. 8). Wallich was preparing a book of photographs of eminent scientists (Wallich 1870). CD’s photograph does not appear in the book. No letter from Wallich requesting a photographic sitting has been found.
William Erasmus Darwin had been interested in photography since at least 1857 (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter to W. E. Darwin, [before 11 September 1857] and n. 3). William left home for Southampton in 1861 (see Correspondence vol. 9).
Wallich 1870 had sixteen plates.


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

Wallich, George Charles. 1870. Eminent men of the day. Scientific series. London: John van Voorst.


Regrets he cannot come to London to be photographed [for GCW’s Eminent men of the day (1870)]. Invites GCW to Down.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Charles Wallich
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.374)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6701,” accessed on 22 October 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17