The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Charles Darwin and the Origin of Species

Past display archive
19 January - 30 June 2009

Room 26 case display

Free

Charles Darwin
by Julia Margaret Cameron
1868-1869
NPG P8

2009 marks the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of his ground-breaking work On the Origin of Species, which outlined his theory of evolution by means of natural selection. This display celebrates Darwin’s life and work through the medium of photography, itself a rapidly changing product of nineteenth-century science.

Amongst the portraits of Darwin on display is an iconic image of the bearded scientist in profile taken by pioneer woman photographer Julia Margaret Cameron in 1868. The display also includes portraits of men who encouraged, advised and supported Darwin in his work, such as Sir Charles Lyell, the eminent geologist. The importance of the work of Alfred Russel Wallace who independently arrived at a theory of evolution around the same time as Darwin, is also acknowledged through a photograph of the young explorer taken in the 1840s.

This display forms part of Darwin200, a national programme of events taking place throughout 2009.

Darwin 200 logo

Listen

Pioneer Podcasts

Listen to a series of podcasts exploring the lives of pioneering women, past and present.

Explore the podcasts

Untitled, c.1973 (Alex Chilton) by William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust

Eggleston Playlist

William Eggleston was closely associated with the alternative music scene in Memphis. Revisit our 2016 exhibition and listen to a special playlist.

Listen to the playlist

Archive interviews

Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.

Watch, listen and read