9th Nov, 2022 10:00

Royalty, Fine Art & Antiques

Lot 1070

Historic Darwin family photograph album, believed to have been compiled by Emma Darwin

Of Charles Darwin interest: Historic and illuminating Darwin family photograph album, believed to have been the possession of Emma Darwin (1808-1896). The Victorian tooled leather album with brass clasp, retailed by Parkins & Gotto, 27 & 28 Oxford St., London, total size 15 x 25cm. Housing a total of 81 sepia photographs of members of the extended Darwin family and circle, many with pencil identification to the mounts believed to be in the hand of Emma Darwin. The photographs in page order as follows: Page 1 - William Erasmus Darwin (1839-1914), Henrietta Emma Darwin (1843-1927), Page 2 - unidentified seated woman titled 'F W' probably one of the Wedgwoods, Charles Darwin, Page 3 - Elizabeth Darwin (1847-1926), Francis Darwin (1848-1925), Page 4 - 'H W' possibly Hope Wedgwood (1844-1935), 'E W' possibly Emma Darwin's sister Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood (1793-1880), Page 5 - double portrait of two children, probably Horace Darwin (1851-1928) and Leonard Darwin (1850-1943), George Howard Darwin (1845-1912), Page 6 - Millicent Lethbridge, Edmund Langton (1841-1875) (Emma Darwin's nephew), Page 7 - Jessie Huxley (1856-1927), Marian Huxley (1859-1887), Page 8 - Leonard Darwin (1850-1943), Margaret Wedgwood (1843-1937) (mother of Ralph Vaughan Williams), Page 9 - mother and child group 'Cicerly & Cecil' who are Cecily Mary Wedgwood (1837–1917) and her nephew Cecil Wedgwood (1863-1915), unidentified young woman 'Betsy', Page 10 - woman titled 'Mrs Huxley', Mrs Hooker (1851-1874) (Joseph Dalton Hooker’s first wife, Frances Harriet Henslow), Page 11 - Girl with doll titled 'G Bridgeman', possibly Georgina Emily Mary Bridgeman (1863-9), daughter of John Robert Orlando Bridgeman and his wife Marianne Caroline Clive, 'Mrs Bunbury', probably Millicent Lethbridge's mother, Page 12, Jessie Huxley (1856-1927), seated woman titled 'Mrs Brodie', probably Eliza Mary Brodie Innes (1820-1909), Page 13, 'Mrs Galton' probably Francis Galton’s mother, Frances Anne Violetta Darwin (1783–1874), Mme. Haeckel (Anna Sethe, first wife of zoologist Ernst Haeckel who died in 1864, Haeckel sent a photograph - probably this photograph, in a letter to Charles Darwin dated 10th August 1864), Page 14, 'Rosamund Lyell', niece of Charles Lyle (1797-1875), Nettie Huxley (1863-1940), Page 15, Leonard Huxley (1860-1933), Rachel Huxley (1862-1934), Page 16, infant Cecil Wedgwood (1863-1916), Mary Hawkshaw (d.1863, mother of Cecil Wedgwood), Page 17, photo of an unnamed baby, Margaret Wedgwood (1843-1947), Page 18, George Howard Darwin (1845-1912), William Erasmus Darwin (1839-1915), Page 19, unidentified family pet dog, 'John Wedgwood' (possibly John Darwin Wedgwood, 1840-1870), Page 20, unidentified young woman, 'Capt. C Darwin' (possibly Sacheverel Charles Darwin 1844-1900), Page 21, authors William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863), George Macdonald (1824-1905), Page 22, group shot of Maria Fedorovna and Alexander Alexandrovitch (later Tsar Alexander III of Russia), family group titled 'P & P Louis of Hesse' Prince and Princess Louis of Hesse, Page 23, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyl (1848-1939), Prince and Princess Christian (of Schleswig-Holstein), Page 24, Queen Alexandra (probably Alexandra of Denmark 1844-1925), opera singer Jenny Lind (1820-1887), Page 25, Mme. De Sismondi (1819-1853) (Emma Darwin's aunt), Miss Bateman (probably the actress Kate Bateman 1842-1917), Page 26, 'Q. of Wurttemburg' presumably Sophie of Wurttemburg, Queen of Netherlands (1818-1877), cleric, religious reformer and mathematician Bishop Colenso (1814-1887), Page 27, Queen Victoria (with infant), Queen Alexandra (1844-1925), Page 28, Mrs Romanes (1856-1878), Hensleigh Wedgwood (1801-1891), Page 29, 'Little Haeckels' (a letter from Ernst Haeckel to Charles Darwin dated 8 October 1873 is sent with a photograph of the scientist's two eldest children - presumably this photograph), 'Miss Woolner' (probably relative of Thomas Woolner), Page 30, Amy Lubbock (1857-1877), unnamed Gentleman but possibly Charles Darwin's manservant Joseph Parslow (1812-1898), Page 31, unidentified gentleman named as 'W. Creasy', George Howard Darwin (1845-1912), Page 32, Elizabeth Darwin (1847-1926), 'E D' probably Emma Darwin (1808-1896), Page 33, unidentified young woman, half length portrait of a young woman bearing resemblance to Henrietta Emma Darwin (1843-1927), Page 34, unidentified woman, 'T Burgess, marine of Beagle' Thomas Burgess (b. 1810), inscribed verso ‘Marine on board The Beagle’, dated Ap. 75), Page 35, Dick Atkins (Francis Darwin 's nephew), 'LD' possibly Leonard Darwin (1850-1943), Page 36, unidentified woman seated at a desk, 'LD' possibly Leonard Darwin (1850-1943), Page 37, Charles Darwin, Joseph Parslow (1812-1898) Charles Darwin's manservant (possibly the first identified image of Joseph Parslow, a significant figure in Charles Darwin's life), Page 38, Lady Lyell (Mary Elizabeth Lyell, geologist and concologist who assisted Darwin, 1808-1873), Ralph (Vaughan) Williams (1872-1958) as a child, Page 39, Bernard Darwin (1876-1961) (first grandson to Emma and Charles Darwin), 'Namesake of CD in Hamburg', photograph is inscribed verso 'Darwin Beger, Hamburg, 8th Feb.ry 1879', a letter sent to Charles Darwin from Karl Beger, dated 12th February 1879 reads 'Dear Sir, My wife and I, beg to present you our very best wishes for your birthday, and hope that it may return always in health and happiness. Enclosed the photograph of our little Darwin. He is now two years old, and a very good, intelligent, and thoroughly healthy child. He speaks already and takes his meals without help.In the upper chaw he has got 5. cutting-teeth instead of 4., but they stand regularly and ar⁠⟨⁠e⁠⟩⁠ as nice and good as could be⁠. Dear Sir, | Your most obedient servant | F. T. C. Beger & wife.' presumably this is the photograph discussed in the letter, Page 40, child named as Ethel Pattrick (1875/6-94), she was the daughter of the Darwins’ governess, Camilla Ludwig, unidentified woman named as Mrs Nash, Page 41, unidentified child named as Otto Patrick.

Provenance: From the Estate of George Erasmus Darwin (1927-2017), the previous history is unknown, but likely by family descent. The pencil inscriptions bear close resemblance to known examples of Emma Darwin's hand and the contents, range and dateline of the album would support the assertion that she compiled the album, which would suggest a provenance: Emma to George Howard Darwin to William Robert Darwin to George Erasmus Darwin. Other Darwin family albums are known, including others apparently also annotated by Emma Darwin, but our research has found nothing comparable in terms of size, range or volume and this lot may represent the principle extant Darwin family album.

We would like to thank the staff of The Darwin Correspondence Project and Down House for their helpful assistance with the identification of photographs in this collection.

Sold for £46,000

Condition Report

Images of reverse of photos are in catalogue order

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Auction: Royalty, Fine Art & Antiques, 9th Nov, 2022

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