DARWIN, Charles Robert (1809-1882). The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication. London: John Murray, 1868.
2 volumes, 8° (214 x 132mm). 43 woodblocks in text. Vol. I with 32p. advertisements for John Murray's books dated April 1867; vol. II with 2p. advertisements dated February 1868. (Light spotting on titles.) Original green cloth, covers with blind frame, gilt spines (extremities rubbed, spine of vol. II slightly torn at foot). Provenance: PRESENTATION COPY TO CAROLINE WEDGWOOD (vol. I with inscribed slip, 'From the author', in a clerical hand pasted onto front blank; titles to both vols. signed 'C.S. Wedgwood' in pencil).
PRESENTATION COPY TO THE AUTHOR'S SISTER, FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE with 5-line and 7-line errata, and one-line imprint on spine. Work on the book began two days after the second edition of the Origin appeared on 7 January 1860. Along with the ascertainable facts of artificial selection, it contained Darwin's hypothesis of pangenesis. Francis Darwin recorded that 'about half of the eight years that elapsed between its commencement and completion were spent on it. The book did not escape adverse criticism: it was said, for instance, that the public had been patiently waiting for Mr. Darwin's pièces justicatives, and that after eight years of expectation all they got was a mass of detail about pigeons, rabbits and silk worms. But the true critics welcomed it as an expansion with unrivalled wealth of illustration of a section of the Origin' (The Autobiography of Charles Darwin and Selected Letters, ed. F. Darwin, New York, 1958, p. 281). The book's slow progress towards publication was due not only to its size but the author's ill health. Visits to relations who included Caroline and Jos for a few days in May of 1863 failed to cure the vomiting and other symptoms which continued until 1865. To complete his research Charles relied on a wide circle of correspondents, and also any amateur help he could get. After one visit to Downe, his three nieces, Sophy, Lucy, and Margaret Wedgwood, Caroline's daughters, managed to collect 256 'specimens of Lythrum' in meadows around Llandudno as he had instructed (see Janet Browne II, p. 211). His book was published on 30 January 1868, the first issue consisting of 1500 copies, and fifty presentation copies were sent to family, friends and co-researchers (presentation lists are in the Darwin manuscript collection, Cambridge University Library, 210.18). Freeman 877; Norman 217. (2)