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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Henry Wilson   28 November 1876

29 Baggot Street | Dublin.

28 Nov 1876

Dear Sir

I beg to forward you representations of one of the most remarkable human faces which has come under my notice knowing that you are interested in such subjects1

The man was a patient under my care in St Mark’s Ophthalmic Hospital suffering from Cataract in both eyes— Unfortunately there was no photograph done prior to operation when he was quite blind— the pictures I send you were done after he recovered the sight of both eyes & the expression of the face became much less animal. His age was 60 & he was considerably curved at the upper part of the spine & shoulders. The Brows were very prominent & also the under lip, he was 6 feet high

The measurements were taken by the late Sir Wm. Wilde2 who was much interested in the man’s appearance

FromMeatusto Glabella 5 inches
to Vertex 534
""to occipitae Protuberariae 412
Between tips of auricles 5143

His father presented a similar appearance.

I am yours truly | H. Wilson

I should mention the man exhibits the ordinary intelligence of the Irish peasant


The photographs have not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL; CD probably returned them. CD had written on human expression in Expression.
William Robert Wills Wilde, Wilson’s father, was the founder of St Mark’s Ophthalmic Hospital; he died in April 1876 (ODNB).
Meatus: the measurements suggest this is the opening of the ear. Glabella: the part of the forehead between the eyebrows and just above their level. Vertex: crown of the head. Occipitae protuberariae: the protuberances on the back of the head. Auricle: the external ear.


Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Sends photograph of man with peculiar facial features, whom HW treated at St Mark’s Ophthalmic Hospital.

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Wilson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 181: 128
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10691,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

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