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Darwin Correspondence Project

To the British Museum   21 February 1879

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Feb. 21st 1879

Having read many of Mr. R. Bowdler Sharp’s papers on Ornithology, & from several interviews with him at different times, I have been led to to form a high opinion of his knowledge of this branch of Natural History. I am further convinced that he is zealous to a quite unusual degree in the cause of Science.—1

Charles Darwin


This letter is a testimonial for Richard Bowdler Sharpe for the post of assistant keeper of Zoology at the British Museum; see letter to R. B. Sharpe, 21 February [1879]. Sharpe’s publications included a monograph on kingfishers and a catalogue of diurnal birds of prey (Sharpe 1868–71 and 1874). In 1868, he provided CD with information on kingfishers; see Correspondence vol. 18, Supplement, letter from Osbert Salvin, [1868?], and Correspondence vol. 16, letter from R. B. Sharpe, 5 August 1868. CD had supported a previous application by Sharpe for promotion at the British Museum; see Correspondence vol. 22, letter to R. B. Sharpe, 24 November [1874].


Sharpe, Richard Bowdler. 1868–71. A monograph of the Alcedinidae: or, family of kingfishers. London: the author.

Sharpe, Richard Bowdler. 1874. Catalogue of the Accipitres, or diurnal birds of prey, in the collection of the British Museum. London: Printed by order of the Trustees.


Letter of recommendation for Richard Bowdler Sharpe, ornithologist.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
British Museum
Sent from
Source of text
Wellcome Collection (MS.7781/1–32 item 17)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11893,” accessed on 23 October 2021,