On the back of a 3 August 1857 letter, Robert Napier sketched the point of Gourock-on-Clyde just before noon on the day after writing the text. A few verticals by the shoreline give the impression of a harbor, and one tall ship makes for a right-of-center focal point of the sketch.
Writing to Paget on 5 February 1888, Charles Edward Brown-Séquard enclosed something extra.
The drawing, in ink, is a “Sketch of Monsieur Chevreul (back view), on his chair at the Academy of Sciences, taken by Professor J. M. Charcot December 1887.” The gentleman in question is balding, with a mad-scientist’s ruff of hair ringing his head.
I find “taken” an odd choice of words: one takes photographs but makes a sketch. Photography can seem—can be, in the case of amateur snapshots, with little thought given to composition or technical requirements, beyond (maybe) flash/no flash—a more passive thing. A real image is preserved. “Taken.” Almost like “stealing,” a lucky seizure of something to which one has no particular claim. A certain degree of accuracy is assumed, which need not be the case with a sketch, created from nothing (even if inspired by reality).
There are two sketches by William Whewell, dated August 1838: Captain Back (perhaps—the name is a bit unclear) and the President of the British Association. The Captain, wearing a cloak and broad-brimmed hat, surveys the barren landscape of Great Slave Lake: a blasted tree, a distant rock formation and looming clouds. The President is also looking off into the distance, with only ear and jawline visible. He holds a plumed hat in one hand; the other rests on the hilt of his sword. His cloak is quite classical in its drapiness; he is apparently wearing tights which reveal the precise contours of his legs. All in all, quite the heroic figure, set to do civilized battle with the forces of ignorance.
In May 1830 A. L. Peirson wrote a letter about Indian burial practices. Included was a sketch of four skeletons (three adults, one 4-year-old) in fetal positions. The stippling is lovely; the pelvic bones are particularly impressive. Apparently the deceased all had good teeth.