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Darwin Correspondence Project

From O. G. Rejlander   11 November 1871

1, | Albert Mansions, | Victoria Street, | S.W.

Nov. 11/71

My dear Sir

You ask more than I can do—this time of the year—at least

In spring-time one might get up such scenes with the chance of taking it photogrly instantaneously but not now—not now—1 I have been looking up some of my former instants to show that I had similar intentions with your own but have not had time to carry them out—2

I studied a Cat from kitty-hood thro’ several family-ways—& had opportunities to unseen through a glass door—& within a yard—hear her callings & the Tom’s several nights—(The last encouraging sound of hers was just the same as when—having been away—she came back to her kittens.) et et et—

I have been very ill and not yet restored but can work—

Heliotype I think will be the cheapest tho’ the Woodbury-type will allow of alterations & omissions or improvements.—3

I have sent a bundle of cards for the £1.1 and thank you—4 the same for the cheque—5

Did you ever see two cats standing nose to nose—close—for minutes?

I am, dear Sir | Yours very truly | O. G. Rejlander


CD had asked Rejlander to photograph various expressions (see letter from O. J. Rejlander, 30 April 1871). Rejlander relied upon natural light in his studio to reduce the exposure time (see Prodger 2009, pp. 7, 173).
In addition to taking specially commissioned photographs, Rejlander also supplied CD with images made from his existing stock of negatives (see Prodger 2009, pp. 177–83).
CD had been deliberating over what printing method to use for the photographs in Expression; on the heliotype and Woodbury processes, see letter to R. F. Cooke, 22 April [1871] and nn. 2 and 3.
CD had recently been photographed by Rejlander (see letter to an editor, 12 October [1871]). The bundle of cards was probably a set of cartes de visite. CD recorded a payment of £1 1s. to Rejlander on 22 August 1872 (CD’s Classed account books (Down House MS)).
CD recorded a payment of £7 7s. to Rejlander on 30 October 1871; the entry appears under the heading ‘Gifts and annual subscriptions’ (CD’s Classed account books (Down House MS)).


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

Prodger, Phillip. 2009. Darwin’s camera: art and photography in the theory of evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Can photograph the scene CD requested only in the spring.

Heliotype is cheap but Woodburytype allows alterations.

Letter details

Letter no.
Oscar Gustaf Rejlander
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Victoria St
Source of text
DAR 176: 116
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8062,” accessed on 29 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19