Letter signed by Darwin, the text in the hand of his wife Emma, to William Ogle.

Letter signed by Darwin, the text in the hand of his wife Emma, to William Ogle. Charles Darwin.
Letter signed by Darwin, the text in the hand of his wife Emma, to William Ogle.

Down, Beckenham: [shortly after 27 November 1878]. Original Letter. Single sheet (183 x 114 mm) watermarked Charta Aspera L&S, written on one side only. Faint pencil date 2 December 1878 at upper left corner, presumably the date of receipt. Left-hand edge a little unevenly trimmed and with marks on verso where previously mounted, very good.

Darwin writes to thank his colleague and regular correspondent William Ogle (1827–1912) for his English translation of Anton Kerner’s Die Schutzmittel der Blüthen gegen unberufene Gäste (The protective measures of flowers against uninvited guests, 1876), which appeared as Flowers and Their Unbidden Guests (Ogle trans. 1878). The book arrived at Down while Darwin was in London from 19 to 27 November 1878, which establishes the approximate date of the letter.

Darwin admits "I have not yet had time to look at it, as Frank was using it". Francis Darwin gave a lecture on 9 December 1878 at the London Institution titled "Self-defence among plants", which used material from Kerner's book. By 16 December Charles Darwin had read Ogle’s translation and praised it in a letter of that date.

Ogle published a number of works on flower structure and mechanisms for fertilisation; he also translated Aristotle’s On the parts of animals into English in 1882.

Darwin Correspondence Project letter no. 11768F. Sold at auction Christie’s New York, 8 Nov. 1996, lot 13, $2,070 incl.
(Item #4158)

Price: $9,000