Autograph Letter Signed ‘Richard Owen’, to a correspondent in Japan about his orang-utan specimen, welcoming “in the present crisis news from the strange land in which you now are”, and asking him to send some Japanese lily bulbs for Owen’s garden. 4 pp. 7 x 4 inches, in good condition, apart from one paper blemish on the final page British Museum, 11 October 1863. “…The absence of the nail on the thumb of the foot, though common, is not constant, in the female orang-utan, and your specimen may be, therefore, one of the exceptional specimens. Should this find you in Japan I would ask you to obtain for me the bulbs of any lilies that you may be able to get and for which I would gladly defray the cost, in any manner you might direct. They carry well, and I am told that the kinds of lily in the gardens of Japan are both rare and beautiful. My own garden is a great solace to me and I should be proud to raise a new variety from Japan. All the particulars you favour me with are of great interest, and in the present crisis news from the strange land in which you now are is much sought after. Believe me, With every good wish, Sincerely yours, Richard Owen.” Sir Richard Owen (1804–1892), biologist, comparative anatomist and palaeontologist. Owen is probably best remembered today for coining the word Dinosauria and for his outspoken opposition to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.