Issue #254  11/3/2022
  • Issue #254
  • Article
Album of Charles Darwin Portraits to Auction off in the UK for an Estimated £50,000-100,000

Nineteen carte-de-visite portraits of Charles Darwin are estimated to perhaps bring in £50,000-100,000, when they are offered at auction next week by Reeman Dansie Auctions. The cartes are contained in an album that was compiled by Henrietta Emma Litchfield, the daughter of Darwin and is inscribed with her husband's name: R. B. Litchfield. The cartes include portraits by Maull & Polyblank, circa 1855, Elliott & Fry, O. G. Rejlander, circa 1871; and Julia Margaret Cameron, circa 1874, among others.

Charles Darwin's profound interest in photography is well documented; he not only used photographs in his research, but also freely exchanged carte-de-visite portraits with friends and colleagues through letters. His friend the botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker termed Darwin’s exchange of photographic images as his 'carte correspondence'. This was an important tool for Darwin to cement his international scientific network. Photographic portraiture was also fundamental to establishing Charles Darwin as a celebrity. He is believed to have sat for photographs on 18 separate occasions resulting in 32 different poses.

Viewing for the auction will take place at the auction house at Severalls Business Park, 8 Wyncolls Rd, Highwoods, Colchester, UK, starting this Friday, November 4, 1pm until 5pm; Saturday, November 5, 9am until 1pm; and Monday, November 7, 9am until 6pm. The auction will be held November 9th. There is a buyer's premium of 24%.