Not exactly a toothy grin

Darwin with William
Charles Darwin aged 43, with his eldest child, William.

Browsing, as I often do, through Darwin Online yesterday, I came across this famous photograph of Charles Darwin with his eldest child, William. It is the only photograph that exists showing Darwin with a member of his family.

Looking at the picture, it suddenly dawned on me that this is the only photograph I can remember seeing in which Darwin appears to be smiling. It's not exactly a toothy grin, but it's certainly a smile: the smile of a contented and proud father, perhaps. It's also a slightly enigmatic smile, not entirely unlike that of the Mona Lisa.

Reading the caption to the photo, something else dawned on me: Charles Darwin aged 43… That's my age! This is what Charles Darwin looked like when he was the same age as me!

All I can say is that he scrubs up rather well. But I have more hair.

Richard Carter, FCD

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteNewsletterMastodonetc…

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