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Cambridge University Library


John Edmonstone, (dates of birth and death unknown)

sitter Miranda Lowe, by Leonora Saunders

Darwin in Conversation: Off the Page

9 July – 3 December 2022

Darwin's prolific correspondence reveals a rich tapestry of people who connected with Darwin over the decades. Posed by modern day contemporaries, each with their own link to these histories, this photographic series by Leonora Saunders reimagines those that were rarely seen - and lesser heard.

This exhibition explores those whose lives crossed with Darwin’s; informing his work, assisting his study and challenging his views. The people who enabled great thinkers and men of the age are often forgotten and unacknowledged, but essential for a complete picture. Through Darwin’s letters we can glimpse the way in which networks and people across the globe, including his own children, contributed to his exploration and intellectual development.

Each portrait also draws on the wider context of Victorian society and commemorates just some of those that were marginalised. The colonial world in which Darwin lived, worked and benefitted from similarly cannot be ignored. Each sitter brings their own contemporary reflections to these histories, showing us that over 150 years later these are stories that still need to be told.

Leonora is a photographer and artist whose work is focused on exploring themes of inequality and representation. Her work has featured in The Guardian, The Sunday Times and The Evening Standard as well as The Royal Photographic Society Magazine and other photographic journals. Leonora has exhibited at museums, galleries and universities across the UK, as well as in London and New York.