Lot 4
  • 4

Darwin, Charles

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
50,000 GBP
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  • Darwin, Charles
  • On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection. London: John Murray, 1859
  • paper
8vo, FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY inscribed in a clerk’s hand “E.W. Harcourt, from the Author, 1859”, folding lithographed diagram, contemporary green half calf, marbled edges, without advertisements, inscription shaved


E.W.V. Harcourt, presentation inscription


Freeman 373; Norman 593

Catalogue Note

PRESENTED TO EDWARD WILLIAM VERNON HARCOURT. Presentation copies of the Origin are rare, and none are known to have been inscribed by Darwin himself, only by a secretarial hand, as here. Freeman mentions that “twenty-three author’s presentation copies are recorded, but there are probably more” (p.75). Norman notes that “these presentation copies were sent to friends and colleagues by the publisher”.

Darwin had written to Harcourt on 19 August 1856 asking to borrow his copy of Christian Ludwig Brehm's work on German ornithology, as he wanted “to see how far Brehm goes in splitting species”. Earlier in the year they had corresponded about Madeiran birds, on which Harcourt was an expert (Harcourt is referenced on p.391 of the Origin).