Rare Darwiniana: a possibly unrecorded Russian carte de visite

[Darwin, Charles Robert]

Portrait of Darwin - Rare Russian carte de visite.

Published 1874
Item ID 76064

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Saint Peterburg, Wesenberg [Down and London, Elliott & Fry], [1874]. Albumen print, mounted on cardboard with a red ink border (10.4 x 6.3 cm). With the printed name Darwin in Cyrillic and printed Cyrillic text on recto and verso. Preserved in transparent sleeve.

Carte de visite. With a fine, crisp portrait of Charles Darwin at the age of 65 years. This photo was made in the studio of Elliott & Fry, in 1874. "...while Darwin wrote and published two of his most important evolutionary tracts - Descent of Man and Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals - he took a hiatus from sitting for his photographic image. Once these books were out, however, he needed an updated carte-de-visite that he could send out to his friends and supporters. He turned, again, to the photographers who had made his most recent cartes, Elliot and Fry. They produced at least four different poses, which Darwin would have sent to friends and admirers." (Darwin Project - photographic portraits). Helvert and Van Weye, identifying the four poses with the letters a to d, described the recto of this version (as variety 1874 c.7), but give no information about the card verso. However, it appears to be the same as in their 1874 c.5., and therefore, possibly, it is another edition NOT recorded by Helvert and Van Weye. If and when it was licenced to the Wesenberg firm, located at Fontanka 55 in old Saint Petersburg, is not exactly known. Slightly over-exposed, as always. This copy in very good condition. Very rare. Helvert and Van Weye, Darwin: a companion, 1874 c.7. (p. 175). Not recorded by Freeman.

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