19th-Century Caricature Prints with Tyndall

Earlier this month I went to Cambridge, England for a conference (here is a series of posts on my Darwin blog about the trip). I took in as many of the Darwin exhibits around the university, including “Darwin’s Microscope” at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science. The exhibit was more than just the microscope, for on display were numerous Darwin/evolution objects from the museum’s collection as well as a vast amount of contemporary Darwin memorabilia (photos from the exhibit here).  Here I want to point out two pieces in the exhibit that deal with Tyndall.

First, a late nineteenth-century caricature print published by E. Appleyard, London:

Our national church the aegis of liberty, equality, and fraternity

"Our national church the aegis of liberty, equality, and fraternity"

A close-up of a portion of the left side:

Darwin, Huxley, and Tyndall

Darwin, Huxley, and Tyndall

Tyndall holds the banner of “Science” while Darwin recruits younger men of science (Huxley, Tyndall) to his cause, the “dawning of an intellectual era” states the print at bottom right (“This way to daylight, my sons,” Darwin says, with a reference to Genesis 27:2: “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death.” The top right of the print gives reference to Genesis 27:11: “Behold, my brother is a hairy man and I am a smooth man”). A key at the bottom of the print lists four representatives of science (Darwin, Huxley, Tyndall, and Colenso).

———-

UPDATE: I have since learned that this caricature was released as two versions. Looking again at this photo of Darwin memorabilia in the same exhibit,

Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge

Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge

I noticed that the caricature was in the magazine article on the left, but slightly different:

"Our national church the aegis of liberty, equality, and fraternity"

"Our national church the aegis of liberty, equality, and fraternity"


I tracked down the article, which is “America’s Difficulty with Darwin” by historian Thomas Dixon in History Today (February 2009, pp. 22-8). Dixon told me that the later caricature is described (p. 131) and reproduced (pp. 132-3) in Paul White’s Thomas Huxley: Making the Man of Science (2003) and both are described (pp. 380-1) in Janet Browne’s Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (2002). Here is what White has to say about it:

As one broadsheet produced in the early 1880s [1882] indicates, the claims of learned men, including members of Parliament, to be the best representatives of England’s people could become the subject of derision. As the Church parties pull in different directions beneath the dome, Roman Catholics, Dissenters, Freethinkers, and Secularists stake out different terrain outside. In the upper left corner, John Tyndall and Herbert Spencer accompany Huxley toward the dawn of Darwinism and Protoplasm (?).

Dixon provides in a footnote that “a different version of this broadsheet, printed ten years earlier, is reproduced in Desmond 1998.” That dates the version I saw as 1872. Darwin published The Descent of Man in 1871, and in the earlier version of the caricature Darwin is portrayed as a monkey. Browne, in her article “Darwin in Caricature: A Study in the Popularisation and Dissemination of Evolution” (Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 145, No. 4, Dec. 2001, pp. 496-509; PDF), wrote:

With publication of the Descent of Man in 1871, followed by
Expression of the Emotions in 1872, Darwin himself entered the cartoons,
usually as the ape itself. His personal facial attributes, such as
his beard, the great dome of his skull, and the beetling eyebrows, were
already relatively familiar to the public from the Vanity Fair chromolithograph
and photographic images reproduced in the Illustrated
London News and elsewhere.20 Such recognition was unusual at a time
when mass publicity was only in its infancy, even more so for a scientist.
Nevertheless, Darwin’s facial features were heavily emphasised
in every caricature around the time of the Descent of Man and the
Expression of the Emotions.
With publication of the Descent of Man in 1871, followed by Expression of the Emotions in 1872, Darwin himself entered the cartoons, usually as the ape itself. His personal facial attributes, such as his beard, the great dome of his skull, and the beetling eyebrows, were already relatively familiar to the public from the Vanity Fair chromolithograph and photographic images reproduced in the Illustrated London News and elsewhere. Such recognition was unusual at a time when mass publicity was only in its infancy, even more so for a scientist. Nevertheless, Darwin’s facial features were heavily emphasised in every caricature around the time of the Descent of Man and the Expression of the Emotions. (p. 506)
And this is how Browne describes, in much more detail, both caricatures in The Power of Place:
Darwin also made an appearance as a minor character in a vast satirical broadsheet published under the name “Ion” in London in 1873 (with another version following afterwards in 1883). This satire was attributed (probably correctly) to clever, mild-mannered George Holyoake, the leading radical secularist of the period… Holyoake had dedicated his life to creating a secular alternative to the established British church… The broadsheet linked ecclesiastical dissent with descent. It was titled Our National Church and provided an all-embracing critique on the fragmenting religious beliefs of the nation, depicting rival sects of Broad Church, Low Church, High Church, Dissenters, “No Church,” Catholicism, and Science. Up in a corner it included three priests of scientific naturalism, Darwin, Huxley, and John Tyndall. This complex picture primarily played on James Martineau’s widely publicised attempts during the 1870s to unite all clergymen under the single umbrella of a “national” church, and evolutionary theory was merely one of several perceived threats to the theological establishment. The print showed the dome of St. Paul’s Catherdral as a giant umbrella unable to shelter religious traditionalists from the stormy winds of doctrinal unrest. Nonconformists pull the chocks away, atheists rant in a corner, Catholic converts follow a signpost “To Rome,” and neither the broad churchmen not the low churchmen can handle the dome’s straining guyropes in the gale. A donkey rudely calls, “Let us bray.” It was fair comment, said the radical divine Moncure Daniel Conway. Huxley, Tyndall, and the renegade clergyman Bishop Colenso push upwards towards the apish figure of Darwin on a hillside, who calls, “This way to daylight, my sons.” The tightly packed text informed readers that over the horizon lay the dawn of an intellectual era which would dispel “the chilling influence of the church.” The second version, usually printed in red and black, was revised to emphasize the evolutionary point. This later version showed an ape carrying the flag of Darwinism, followed by a trail of well-known agnostic philosophers and dissenting clergymen, including Spencer (“Philosophy”), Conway (“We must move on”), Huxley, and Tyndall (“Science”), all aiming for a plinth in which stood Darwin’s bust surrounded by a cloud of “Protoplasm.” Both versions of the print were in Darwin’s personal collection, although it is not known how many others were printed and distributed, or to whom. The artist, whoever he was, considered Darwin and his theory an integral part of the secular, highly politicised world coming into being around him.
So, the first caricature (White says [1872], Browne says 1873), and the second (White says 1882, Browne says 1883), are well known to historians of science (both versions are on The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online as well: 1st/2nd). Darn, I thought I was seeing something untouched by historians, not knowing that it is featured in two books that sit on my shelves. But they will still be useful to me for the paper I will write concerning Tyndall and Darwin, which work on really begins this fall semester.
———-

Second, an 1883 caricature print published by Maclure & MacDonald, Lith, London:

A Versatile Vivisected View of the Monkey House (from the Zoological Gardens)

A Versatile Vivisected View of the Monkey House (from the Zoological Gardens)

A close up of the left side shows Tyndall holding I know not, Joseph Dalton Hooker possibly examining a plant, Thomas Henry Huxley comparing the anatomy of his hand to that of a fish’s fin, and Sir Richard Owen seemingly jealous of Huxley:

Tyndall, Hooker, Huxley, and Owen

Tyndall, Hooker, Huxley, and Owen

All four are designated as F[ellows of the] R[oyal] S[ociety], but I don’t know what GL stands for. [UPDATE: Bill Ashworth suggests that FRGSL stands for Fellow of the Royal Geological Society of London. That makes sense!]

Has anyone seen these caricatures before?

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Published in: on July 22, 2009 at 12:25 pm  Comments (9)  
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  1. [...] July 22, 2009 at 3:31 pm · Filed under C.R. Darwin, J. Tyndall, history of science I have a new post at my neglected blog Transcribing Tyndall: 19th-Century Caricature Prints with Tyndall [...]

  2. [...] caricature print in the image above I discussed in a post on my other blog, Transcribing Tyndall. Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge Darwin memorabilia, Whipple Museum, [...]

  3. [...] The caricature print in the image above I discussed in a post on my other blog, Transcribing Tyndall. [...]

  4. [...] with Tyndall” with additional information regarding one of the caricatures. Check it out here. Published [...]

  5. [...] August 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm · Filed under C.R. Darwin, J. Tyndall, evolution, history of science I updated my post “19th-Century Caricature Prints with Tyndall” with additional information regarding one of the caricatures featuring Darwin. Check it out here. [...]

  6. I assume the letters FRGSL stand for “Fellow of the Royal Geological Society of London”, since many authors such as Tyndall and Darwin put FSGRL as one of their titles on their titlepages

    • Thanks, Bill! This is you – or by you – I presume?

  7. [...] of the American Philosophical Society 145:4 (December 2001): 496-509. (also, see my post 19th-Century Caricature Prints with Tyndall, Darwin caricatures at The Primate Diaries, and Darwin caricatures at [...]

  8. [...] add to my post about 19th-Century Caricature Prints with Tyndall, here are three more (all from Puck magazine) I have come across, two from the website Cartooning [...]


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