RECORD: Anon. 1890. [Review of Journal of researches]. The voyage of a naturalist. St. James's Gazette (26 February): 6. 

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 10.2022. RN1

[page] 6



Good illustrations will sometimes redeem the most worthless book of travels; and there are few travellers who can safely reject the artist's assistance. Without pictures the narrative is apt to fall as flat as a lecture at the Royal Geographical Society without the magic lantern. But Charles Darwin's journal of his voyage round the world in H.M.S. Beagle achieved instant popularity solely by reason of the author's wonderful powers of observation and description; and up till now the book has passed through numberless editions without as much as a frontispiece. The publishers at last decided to bring out an illustrated edition of "A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World" (John Murray); and with the help of Mr. R. T. Pritchett, whose illustrations of Lady Brassey's books are so widely known, the journal is now produced in a shape that would satisfy the most fastidious taste. The artistic beauty of the engravings is worthy of the text, and this is saying a great deal. Most of the views were drawn by Mr. Pritchett on the spot, with Mr. Darwin's book by his side; a few have been reproduced from engravings collected by the author, and lent for the purpose by his son. The wild scenery of the coast of Patagonia, the coral islands of the South Pacific, the glimpse at a virgin forest in many vignettes of strange animals and curious implements cannot fail to add interest even to Mr. Darwin's descriptions. The picture of two graceful beauties of Banda Oriental, with their languishing eyes and enormous head-gear, might seem a little out of place in a grave scientific work; but then Mr. Darwin himself was fain to confess that the ladies of Buenos Ayres were the most charmingly handsome creatures in the world; which verdict, he says, procured him a most hospitable reception.


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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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