PORTRAITS OF THE DARWIN FAMILY
PORTRAITS of the more immediate ancestors of Charles Darwin and Francis Galton exist at Creskeld Hall, the seat of Francis Darwin, Esq., and at Newnham Grange, Cambridge, formerly the home of Sir George Howard Darwin. Of the pictures at Creskeld, the most noteworthy are those of Robert Darwin (1682-1754) supposed to be by Richardson about 1717, and of his three sons : William Alvey Darwin (17261783) by Wright of Derby, Robert Waring Darwin (1724-1816) aged 51, painted by John Borridge, 1775, and Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), painted by Wright also. See our Plates VI, VIbis and VIteP. I have heartily to thank Colonel C. W. Darwin for photographs of the pictures of the elder and younger Robert, and Mr William Erasmus Darwin for a photograph of that of William Alvey Darwin. The general resemblance to Erasmus of these portraits is striking.
Some of the Darwin portraits at Elston Hall were sold by William Brown Darwin, and in part have been repurchased by members of the family. 'Sir Francis Sacheverell Darwin had a copy made of the portrait of his grandfather, Robert Darwin, and he further purchased, about 1850, from a dealer in Newark, a Darwin portrait with which he had been familiar in his youth as part of the Elston collection. These two portraits descended to his grandson, Sacheverell Darwin, by whom they were left to Sir George Howard Darwin. They passed for many years traditionally as those of Robert Darwin (1682-1754), and of his father, William Darwin (1655-1682), and photographs of them formerly in the possession of Sir Francis Galton are so entitled. An examination of the photographs convinced me, however, that the portrait of the so-called William Darwin must be of a later date than that of Robert Darwin, and could not possibly represent his father. By the kindness of Lady Darwin I was enabled to examine both pictures at Newnham Grange, and also to see various correspondence concerning them. Sir George Darwin, I then learnt, had himself felt in doubt as to the William Darwin portrait. The Robert Darwin portrait is rightly ascribed and its ascription agrees with that of the original at Creskeld ; the copyist has, however, lost something of the delicacy of the original. The history of the "William Darwin" picture is very definite it includes a written statement by Reginald Darwin' as to his father, Sir Francis, finding the picture at Newark, and its being then identified as "William Darwin." The Director of the National Portrait Gallery has most kindly examined a photograph of this
' Letter to George Howard Darwin, Esq., Nov. 5, 1890, and also a footnote to a MS. memoir of the Darwins in the possession of the Rev. Darwin Wilmot.