1 of 32 portraits of Charles Darwin
by Maull & Polyblank
albumen print, arched top, circa 1855
7 7/8 in. x 5 3/4 in. (200 mm x 146 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882), Naturalist, geologist and originator of the theory of evolution. Sitter in 35 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Maull & Polyblank (active 1854-1865), Photographers. Artist associated with 337 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This photograph was taken as part of a series entitled the Literary and Scientific Portrait Club' to provide a visual record of eminent Victorian scientists.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 116 Read entry
Darwin was inhibited about promoting his ideas: he feared controversy would damage his social status, and he was a poor debater. He provided the intellectual ammunition and background support to expert scientific polemicists such as Joseph Hooker and, above all, Thomas Huxley who took the fight for natural selection into the lecture halls and learned societies, and into print. Huxley's ire was often directed at the powerful anti-Darwinian Richard Owen, hating his 'metaphorical mystifications' masquerading as science. Whenever possible Owen pulled rank over the younger Huxley, once assuming the title 'Professor' to give a series of lextures in Huxley's own School of Mines, thereby undermining his authority.
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 165
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Charles Darwin and the Origin of Species (19 January 2009 - 30 June 2009)
Portrait setback to top
Events of 1855back to top
Current affairsPalmerston becomes Prime Minister, leading a coalition government after Lord Aberdeen loses a vote of confidence over his handling of the Crimean war. Known by the nickname 'Lord Pumicestone' for his abrasive style, Palmerston is the oldest prime minister in history to take up the post for the first time at the age of 71.
Stamp duty on newspapers is abolished, creating the mass media market in the UK as newspapers became more widely and cheaply available.
Art and scienceFollowing a trip through the Holy Land to the Dead Sea, William Holman Hunt begins his symbolically-laden painting The Scapegoat.
John Millais marries Effie Gray, previously John Ruskin's wife, after their marriage was annulled that year.
The social theorist and sociologist Herbert Spencer and philosopher G. H. Lewes, publishes Principles of Pyschology, exploring a physiological basis to psychology.
InternationalThe Fall of Sebastopol in the Crimean war, as Russia retreats, and the exhaustion of the Turkish alliance means the war nears its end. Despite being rebuffed by Florence Nightingale's team of nurses, Jamaican-born nurse Mary Seacole travels to the Crimea, opening a 'British Hotel' for sick and injured soldiers. She gains significant attention and praise for her nursing work.
Listen to a series of podcasts exploring the lives of pioneering women, past and present.
William Eggleston was closely associated with the alternative music scene in Memphis. Revisit our 2016 exhibition and listen to a special playlist.
Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.
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