Charles Darwin’s Son Draws Cute Pictures on the Manuscript of On the Origin of Species

Most of us can identify Charles Darwin as the father of modern evolutionary biology, but were you aware that he also fathered ten children with his cousin, Emma Wedgwood?

As daddies go, Darwin was quite evolved himself, displaying a 21st-century level of devotion to and involvement with his young. He even went so far as to let one of his kids draw on the original manuscript for On the Origin of Species. Saving paper was as good for the environment in the mid-1800s as it is today, but his willingness to let his precious pages do double duty may explain why the seminal document survives as mere piecemeal today.

Maybe Charles and Emma read some article that suggested their household would run more smoothly if it were better organized, and lacking such modern solutions as colorful Ikea storage bins and scanners, simply pitched all but the absolute best of their children’s artwork. (Or maybe their youngest was a scruncher, destroying pages by the fistful.)


It seems a good bet young Francis Darwin’s watercolor of birds, bugs and a butterfly converging on a trio of botanically viable flowers (above) would’ve done his naturalist papa proud.

I can also state with near-scientific certainty that if the Darwins had had a refrigerator, The Battle of the Fruit and Vegetable Soldiers (top) would have been on it. Today, Francis’ masterpiece—and its flipside—reside in the Cambridge University Library.

via The Telegraph

Related Content:

Watch Darwin, a 1993 Film by Peter Greenaway

Read the Original Letters Where Charles Darwin Worked Out His Theory of Evolution

The Genius of Charles Darwin Revealed in Three-Part Series by Richard Dawkins

Darwin’s Personal Library Goes Digital: 330 Books Online

Darwin’s Legacy, a Stanford course in our collection of 750 Free Online Courses

Ayun Halliday remembers her grandmother was very impressed by her ability to  draw Huckleberry Finn with his legs crossed. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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