7 June 2006
The Property of Sir Martin Wedgwood, from the Library of Caroline Wedgwood, née Darwin (see introduction to lot 1)
DARWIN, Charles Robert (1809-1882). The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species. London: John Murray, 1877.
8° (182 x 119mm). 15 woodblocks in text, 38 tables. Original green cloth, covers with blind frame, gilt spine (corners lightly rubbed). Provenance: PRESENTATION COPY TO CAROLINE WEDGWOOD (printed slip, 'From the author', tipped in before title; title with pencil signature, 'C.S. Wedgwood', and 'July' date).
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY TO CAROLINE. Following completion of the manuscript, Charles and Emma had a long June holiday in 1877 during which they stayed first with the Farrers at Abinger, and next with Caroline and Jos at nearby Leith Hill (see John Bowlby, Charles Darwin, 1990, p. 426). Dedicated to Asa Gray, the first edition of 1250 copies was issued on 9 July, 1877, in accordance with the 'July' date recorded by Caroline. 'No little discovery of mine ever gave me so much pleasure as the making out the meaning of hetero-styled flowers', Darwin remarked in his Autobiography (p. 51). In Desmond and Moore's view, 'Forms of Flowers capped his work on nature's complex "marriage arrangements". It was a botanical voyeur's diary. He had contrived all sorts of liaisons among the blossoms, spying on them through his eyeglass. After endless manual pollinations, myriad microscopic seed-counts, he described the results with due delicacy, showing how "legitimacy" was conferred on cross-fertilisations. Even before the first reviews appeared, he was wrapped up in his next book on plant movements' (p. 628). FINE COPY. For a leaf of the draft manuscript corrected by Darwin, see lot 17. Freeman 1277.
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