Photo with 1 note
Elizabeth I, Sieve portrait
They went to sea in a Sieve, they did, In a Sieve they went to sea: In spite of all their friends could say, On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day, In a Sieve they went to sea! And when the Sieve turned round and round, And every one cried, “You’ll all be drowned!” They called aloud, “Our Sieve ain’t big, But we don’t care a button! we don’t care a fig! In a Sieve we’ll go to sea!” Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live; Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, And they went to sea in a Sieve
The Jumblies (first stanza)
One of Lear’s illustrations for John Gould’s A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans
He was one I never liked really, for in spite of a certain jollity and bonhommie, he was a harsh and violent man. At the Zoological Society at 33 Bruton Street, at Hullmandel’s—at Broad Street ever the same, persevering hard working toiler in his own line, but ever as unfeeling for those about him. In this earliest phase of this bird drawing, he owed everything to his excellent wife,—& to myself, without whose help in drawing he had done nothing
Edward Lear writing about Gould after the latter’s death in 1881
The Ruling Passion
John Everett Millais
A visit to Gould in his old age provided the inspiration for John Everett Millais’s painting The Ruling Passion
Mr. Gould exhibited from Mr. Darwin’s collection of Birds, a series a Ground Finches, so peculiar in form that he was induced to regard them constituting an entirely new group, containing 14 species, and appearing to be strictly confined to the Galapagos Islands. Mr. Gould believed the whole of these Birds to be undescribed, and remarked that their principal peculiarity consisted in the bill presenting several distinct modifications a form, while the general contour of the species closely assimilated. He proposed to characterize them under the separate generic appellations of Geospiza, Camarhynchus, Cactornis, and Certhidea
Gould, J. 1837. Remarks on a Group of Ground Finches from Mr. Darwin’s Collection, with Characters of the New Species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 5: 4-7
Floreana mockingbird (left) and San Cristóbal mockingbird (right) from “The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle… Part 3. Birds” by John Gould. Darwin sought expert knowledge for the description of the specimens he brought back, and edited this bird volume between 1938-41
Darwin wrote that if his growing suspicions about the mockingbirds, the tortoises and the Falkland Islands Fox were correct, “such facts undermine the stability of Species”, then cautiously added “would” before “undermine”. He later wrote that such facts “seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species”.
I am very anxious for the Galapagos Islands. I think both the geology and the zoology cannot fail to be very interesting
Letter of July 1835 to Caroline Darwin, Correspondence vol. 1, p. 456.
English Vice-Governor, Nicholas Lawson, who met the Beagle crew by chance when they landed. In a conversation about the giant Galapagos tortoises of which there were small numbers on the island, Lawson said that the tortoises on different islands showed ‘slight variations in the form of the shell’. He claimed that he could, ‘on seeing a tortoise, pronounce with certainty from which island it has been brought’ (ibid. p. 291). It is not clear whether Darwin attached any significance to the remark at the time, but he was to remember it later
Photo with 1 note
The group consists of 18 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. The islands are located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, 973 km (525 nmi; 605 mi) off the west coast of South America. The closest land mass is that of mainland Ecuador, the country to which they belong, 926 km/500 nmi to the east.
I had been wandering about North Wales on a geological tour with Professor Sedgwick when I arrived home on Monday 29th August . My sisters first informed me of the letters from Prof: Henslow & Mr Peacock offering to me the place in the Beagle which I now fill. — I immediately said I would go; but the next morning, finding my Father so much averse to the whole plan, I wrote to Mr Peacock to refuse his offer. — On the last day of August I went to Maer, where everything soon bore a different appearance. — I found every member of the family so strongly on my side, that I determined to make another effort. — In the evening I drew up a list of my Fathers objections, to which Uncle Jos wrote his opinion & answer. — This we sent off to Shrewsbury early the next morning & I went out shooting. — About 10 oclock Uncle Jos sent me a messuage, to say he intended going to Shrewsbury & offering to take me with him. — When we arrived there, all things were settled, & my Father most kindly gave his consent. —
I shall never forget what very anxious & uncomfortable days these two were.— My heart appeared to sink within me, independently of the doubts raised by my Fathers dislike to the scheme. I could scarcely make up my mind to leave England even for the time which I then thought the voyage would last. Lucky indeed it was for me that the first picture of the expedition was such an highly coloured one.
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