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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   20 [January or February 1871?]1



My dear William

Please send me Langstaff initials; I must send him a copy of my book, as mark of thankfulness, for I find his notes on expression very valuable.—2

Look out for me to get if possible a photograph of child smiling or laughing.—3

Also whenever you may be in London, I shd. much like engraving or photograph of savage horse with ears clearly dropped—mouth protruded—teeth a little uncovered—& of Horse going to be fed & pleased.—4 How about any of Rosa Bonner’s (is this spelt right?) pictures.—5 I know you will help me & keep this in mind.

Yours affect | C. Darwin

You have been a good boy to write; but I will keep to my intention & send copy to Langstaff


The dates are conjectured on the basis of the reference to expressions of horses (see n. 4, below), and by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. E. Darwin, 11 February [1871] (Correspondence vol. 19, see n. 2, below).
Charles Langstaff’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Expression (Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix V). Most of Langstaff’s observations had been communicated to CD in 1868 (see Correspondence vol. 16, and Expression, pp. 148, 152, 314); however, CD mentioned Langstaff as a possible source of observations of pouting children in his letter to William of 11 February [1871] (Correspondence vol. 19).
Expression included a plate of photographs of smiling children (see Expression, facing p. 202).
CD described horses in a savage and pleased state in Expression, pp. 129–30, but there are no images of horses in the book. He tried to obtain photographs of paintings of horses with these expressions in 1871 (see Correspondence vol. 19, letter to Joseph Wolf, 3 March 1871). There are two drawings by Wolf of horses’ heads depicting these expressions in DAR 53.1: C166.
The French painter Rosa Bonheur had achieved popularity in Britain for such works as Horse Fair (1855) (EB).


Asks WED’s help in acquiring expression photographs and engravings.

Wishes to send Langstaff a copy of his book [Expression], in gratitude for his valuable notes.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Natural History Museum (General Special Collections MSS DAR 32)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8529,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)