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Books From The Voyage That Inspired Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution Sell For £14,880 at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury

A book charting the expedition which led to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, sold as part of a set for £14,880 at Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions’ sale of Antiquarian Books, held yesterday, Wednesday 18th December.

Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of his Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle
Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of his Majesty’s Ships Adventure and Beagle
Darwin was invited to join the second surveying voyage of HMS Beagle, by Captain Robert Fitzroy, to write the natural history part of the Captain’s account of the five-year expedition to South America. The book established Darwin as a credited geologist, but it was his time spent collecting and examining fossils that was influential in the investigations that led to his Theory of Evolution.

22 year-old Darwin had planned to become a clergyman prior to joining the voyage and later in life in his autobiography stated: “The voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important event in my whole life and has determined my whole career.”

The volumes were gifted to Darwin’s cabin mate, John Lort Stokes, by Captain FitzRoy and explorer John Septimus Roe. Stokes assisted Darwin with his geological investigations on land and the two formed an enduring friendship. The books bear Stokes’s ink ownership inscription and personal annotations throughout. They are accompanied by other works relating to the expedition, which has become renowned for its association with Charles Darwin [Lot 448].

Elsewhere in the sale, children’s books proved popular. A first edition set of The Harry Potter Novels by J.K.Rowling, were purchased for £11,160 [Lot 158], whilst a first edition of The Very Hungry Caterpillar with a signed presentation inscription and drawing from the author was sent soaring over an estimate of £300-400, selling for an exeptional £7,440 [Lot 271].

The full catalogue and prices realised from this sale are available to view online at