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Darwin's family portraits up for grabs

world Updated: Jul 07, 2009 15:52 IST
Charles Darwin

Three rare portraits of family members of Charles Darwin will go on sale in London at a Sotheby's auction of early British paintings on July 9.

The paintings, by leading portrait artist Joseph Wright, have a combined estimate of 290,000-410,000 pounds.

The portraits depict Darwin's grandfather, the consultant and physician Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802); his uncle William Alvey Darwin (1726-1783) and also uncle's wife, Jane Darwin (1746-1835) with their son, William Brown.

The portrait of Erasmus, an oil on canvas in the original fluted British Marratta gilded frame, is estimated at 100,000-150,000 pounds. It was painted in 1770, the time when Erasmus' medical practice dominsated his life and he travelled extensively to treat patients.

The Jane-William painting has an estimate of 150,000-200,000 pounds while the portrait of William Alvey is estimated at 40,000-60,000 pounds.