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Darwin Correspondence Project

From M. T. Masters   [c. 15 May 1862]1

Rye Lane | Peckham

My dear Sir

I have to thank you greatly for a copy of your new work on orchid fertilizn.2

I was so struck with your paper at the Linnæan that I promise myself very great pleasure and interest from the perusal of your book3

I see another book is promised on the Variation of plants & animals etc4   I need hardly say that if it is in my power to give you any information as to the natural & abnormal variations in plants (to wh. I have paid some little attention)—I shall be delighted to do so5

Believe me dear Sir | With many thanks | Your’s faithfully | Maxwell T Masters Darwin Esq


The date is conjectured from the reference to the publication of Orchids (see n. 2, below).
Orchids was published on 15 May 1862 (Freeman 1977, p. 112). Masters’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for the volume (see Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix IV).
CD read his paper, ‘Three sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum, before the Linnean Society of London on 3 April 1862.
A notice announcing that CD was preparing Variation for publication appeared in Orchids, p. ii.
Masters, a lecturer in botany at St George’s Hospital, London, and his father, the nurseryman William Masters, were frequently cited in Variation.


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

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.

‘Three sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum’: On the three remarkable sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum, an orchid in the possession of the Linnean Society. By Charles Darwin. [Read 3 April 1862.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 6 (1862): 151–7. [Collected papers 2: 63–70.]

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks for Orchids.

Letter details

Letter no.
Maxwell Tylden Masters
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171.1: 66
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3551,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10