DARWIN (CHARLES) Signature ("C. Darwin") and autograph address ("W.B. Tegetmeier Esq./ Muswell Hill/ London. N."), on a folded note inserted into an autograph letter signed ("W.B. Tegetmeier") to W. Lang Esq., 16 Alexandra Grove, North Finchley, 16 February 1907

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Lot 199
DARWIN (CHARLES)
Signature ("C. Darwin") and autograph address, on a folded note inserted into an autograph letter from W.B. Tegetmeier to W. Lang Esq., 16 February 1907

Sold for £ 2,040 (US$ 2,472) inc. premium
DARWIN (CHARLES)
Signature ("C. Darwin") and autograph address ("W.B. Tegetmeier Esq./ Muswell Hill/ London. N."), on a folded note inserted into an autograph letter signed ("W.B. Tegetmeier") to W. Lang Esq., ("...I enclose you an autograph of Darwins, the best I can do for you. It is all in his own handwriting..."), asking him to remind him of the day and time of their appointment and that "...I am continuing the application to my eye...", 2 pages, bifolium folded for posting, remains of guard, note slightly foxed and dust-stained taped into letter, 8vo (180 x 115mm.), 16 Alexandra Grove, North Finchley, 16 February 1907

Footnotes

  • 'I ENCLOSE YOU AN AUTOGRAPH OF DARWINS... IT IS ALL IN HIS OWN HANDWRITING': TEGETMEIER'S GIFT TO HIS EYE SURGEON WILLIAM LANG.

    A correspondent and friend of Charles Darwin, Tegetmeier was a recognised authority on pigeons and honeybees, their collaborations in both areas resulting in a greater understanding of the evolutionary process and further confirmation of Darwin's great thesis. 'Tegetmeier showed that bees actually constructed cylindrical cells; only when raised up in contact with one another did these cells gain their characteristic mathematical regularity. Darwin extended these experiments and cited them in the Origin, recognizing that Tegetmeier had given a physical, material explanation to a phenomenon which many naturalists had seen as evidencing divine design. For his part, Tegetmeier became a convinced evolutionist, and always prided himself on his connection with the celebrated naturalist' (J. A. Secord, ODNB). In an article for Tatler, he describes how he was introduced to Darwin in 1855: '...Continuing my love for pigeons, I became the secretary of the most exclusive pigeon association, the Philoperisteron Society, which held its annual meetings in the great hall of the Freemasons' Tavern. At one of these exhibitions I heard a voice which said, 'Oh, here's Tegetmeier ; he will tell you all about these birds better than I can'. I turned round, and saw [my friend William] Yarrell with a stranger, whom he introduced as Mr. Darwin...' (friendsofdarwin.com).

    Judging from Tegetmeier's reassurance that he is continuing with his eye treatment, it seems reasonable to conclude that the recipient of the autograph is likely to have been the eminent ophthalmic surgeon and one of the founding members of the Ophthalmological Society, William Lang (see his obituary bjo.bmj.com). It derives from the collection of another eminent physician, that of George Buckston Browne (see lot 18).
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