The pioneering English naturalist, biologist and geologist (1809-82) turned the Earth on its axis with his concept of evolutionary biology in his landmark, still-controversial 1859 "On the Origin of Species." Item #49640
Two images: First, a choice carte-de-visite, 2½" X 4". Near fine. This superb c-d-v depicts Darwin in three-piece suit in later years, with bottom edge bearing the name of the preeminent Victorian photography studio Elliott & Fry and their address and the verso bearing their backstamp. Darwin sat for Elliott & Fry several times, and this likeness dates from an 1874 sitting. Second, a highly unusual copper printing plate bearing a head-and-shoulders stipple-point portrait of an elderly Darwin set within a partial oval, affixed to a heavy (2 pound 2 ounce) 7½" X 9" X 3/4" board. Very good. This plate was clearly used, but remains quite attractive, with the copper still gleaming. It depicts Darwin about the same age as in the carte-de-visite, although based on a different portrait. Stamped into the wood at each corner and also at lower left of the printing plate is a miniscule "LPIU" (Lithographers' and Photoengravers' International Union, an American and Canadian trade union) and the number "76P" whose meaning is unclear -- which identifies this as an American product. The portrait was most likely used either as a book frontispiece or a book illustration, though the book has not yet been identified. Such plates are difficult to date precisely but it is likely of late 19th or early 20th century vintage. A delightful pair of unusual images -- the Carte-de-visite scarce and the copper printing plate likely one-of-a-kind.