Detail of a comet orchid in bloom at Down House

English Heritage

English Heritage
United Kingdom

Down House, built in the early 18th century, was home to the great scientist Charles Darwin for 40 years until his death in 1882. After moving to the house in 1842, Darwin and his wife, Emma, remodelled the building and its extensive gardens many times. The garden was integral to family life. It provided a place of play and relaxation, a kitchen garden to grow food, and perhaps most famously a place for Darwin to experiment and test his scientific theories. It was here that Darwin developed his theory of evolution by natural selection and wrote his ground breaking work ‘On the Origin of Species’ (1859).

This detail shows a comet orchid in bloom at Down. In the early 1860s, Darwin erected a hothouse alongside the greenhouse in his garden an investigated his theory of orchid reproduction being dependent on insect pollinators.


  • Title: Detail of a comet orchid in bloom at Down House
  • Location: Down House
  • Type: Plants
  • Rights: Historic England

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps