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DARWIN, Charles & Francis.

The Power of Movement in Plants.

With illustrations.

London: John Murray, 1880 Stock Code: 129604
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Original cloth, from the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow

First edition, first issue, with 32 pp. inserted adverts dated May 1878 and with two lines of errata at the foot of page x; 1,500 copies were printed. The collaborative authorship proclaimed on the title page reflects Darwin's concern to introduce his children into the world of science. Francis Darwin had trained as a doctor but turned from medicine to botany, initially working as secretary and assistant to his father. In 1876 he had been for some months at the University of Würzburg, learning laboratory methods from Julius Sachs. "The book was an extension of Charles Darwin's work on climbing plants and it showed that the same mechanisms can be observed in plants in general. By extending the idea of irregular circumnutation the Darwins analysed the growth movement of plants in response to factors of the environment such as light, gravity, and wounds. In addition, they demonstrated that the mechanism of curvature in both roots and shoots was the result of differential growth rates. They could also confirm that the effect of the stimuli on the growth movement was indirect and that light and gravity act on some substance in the tip of the root and the shoot, which is transmitted to other parts of the plant. Francis Darwin later refined some of the experimental techniques and modified their theoretical conclusions" (ODNB).

Provenance: The Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow, with their bookplate to pastedown, and stamps to title and first page. Founded in 1802 to discuss and improve the arts and sciences in Glasgow, the Society built up a considerable library of scientific books. This library of over 5,000 volumes was dispersed in 1961 when their building was sold.

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Octavo. Original green cloth, spine lettered in gilt with gilt decorative border at ends, covers blindstamped, brown coated endpapers.


With 196 woodcuts in the text.


Bookseller's ticket to pastedown. Hinges just beginning to split but still firm, a few instances of faint finger-soiling, else an excellent copy, with little darkening to spine.


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