Darwin notes

Insectivorous Plants by Charles Darwin with his orginal revisions, £300,000 at Christie’s.

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Sent to the publisher John Murray in 1875, these are Darwin’s own corrected proof sheets, showing substantial revisions in his hand. The emendations or cancellations amount to around 1300 words.

While the existence of these annotated proof sheets has been known from Darwin’s correspondence, they have not been published and are as yet unrecorded by Darwin Online.

Christie’s said the pages, housed in a modern green morocco leather case, had been acquired by the vendor from the bookseller Jonathan Hill in 1990.

Estimated at £150,000-200,000, they took £300,000.

After many years spent labouring on evolution and sexual selection, by 1873 Darwin returned his attention to his beloved plants.

Published in July 1875, Insectivorous Plants was one of Darwin’s final works. His fears that such a technical book would ‘flop’ proved unfounded: after the first 1700 copies sold straight away; 2000 more copies were printed quickly and 1000 more run off in 1876.

See more on Darwin in this week's Books and Works on Paper.