Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #107 ends in

US Auction #16 begins on 02 Aug 2023

Butler (Capt. H.)


Published: Ackermann and Co., London, 1841

Edition: First edition

Current Bid: $0


Reserve: $350

Estimate: $400/500

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Illustrative of the Wild Life of a Hunter on the Frontier of the Cape Colony

First edition: Additional lithographed title-page as frontispiece – The cattle lifters; Boors on the spoor, 15 pages letterpress and 15 lithograph plates containing 31 drawings of which 16 are hand-coloured, rebound in half blue leather with matching cloth boards, titled gilt on the spine, a very good copy.

Mendelssohn (Sidney) South African Bibliography Volume 1, page 235: A rather scarce volume of hunting scenes in the Cape. The work is devoted to an illustrated description of sporting adventures on the “Bontebok Flats" in Kaffraria, near the Kat River Settlement, "at the extreme verge of the Cape Colony, and beneath the mountain ranges amongst whose fertile valley the Kat, a tributary of the Great Fish River, has its origin." The sketches were made "to relieve the dreariness of two years' residence upon a barbarian frontier," and they serve as an excellent record of the appearance of this part of South Africa during the first half of the nineteenth century. Many of them are described from extracts "from a journal written on the spot," which affords a capital account of the sport enjoyed in these districts, with some interesting notes on the political and military position of the country. The writer evidently did not hold with the views of the party who were in the habit of making excuses for the ravages of the Kaffirs, and of attacking the Boers for their brutality towards them, and he remarks, " The Dutch inhabitants of the colony, impoverished by laws, which, while they loosened the bonds of their slaves, substantiated no sufficient system of control for their servants, seeing nothing but the consummation of their ruin in the new frontier policy, commenced an emigration upon a scale of startling magnitude." There are 15 plates, most of which have two or more engravings, many of them being coloured.

Edna Bradlow's article in the Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa volume 2, page 628 – 9 refers: 'Though he served as an ensign in the 27th regiment on the eastern cape frontier (1835 -39) Henry Butler, an Irish officer appears in the Army List as Captain in the 59th Regiment. His volume of hand -coloured lithographs South African Sketches was published in 1841. In his preface he states that the object of his sketchbook was both to relieve the dreariness of two years' residence upon a 'barbarian frontier and to record the profusion of game which abounded on the Bontebok Flats near the Kat River Settlement. The letterpress and illustrations are of value in providing a full often amusing description of the topography, flora, fauna, climate and inhabitant of the region around present Fort Beaufort.

Africana Notes and News March 1963 pages 205 - 206 : Kennedy (R. F.) A facsimile of Butler's South African Sketches “H.W. Dawson of Cape Town published a facsimile edition of South African Sketches in 1962 which is so good that in years to come collectors will have difficulty in distinguishing an 1841 printing from that of 1962. A comparison of a copy of the facsimile with two copies of the 1841 edition disclosed certain minor differences in colour.” The comparative analysis of plates is detailed on page 206 of this article. It confirms that this is an original published in 1841.

Africana Notes and News June 1963 page 264: Information has now been received from Messsrs. Wm Dawson & Sons that the Butlers offered by them are not facsimiles. The copies offered are original printings, obtained in sheets and uncoloured. The printing and lithographing are original, the colouring is modern, - and, of course, the binding is modern.

  • Overall Condition: A very good copy
  • Size: Folio (380 x 280mm)
  • Name: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Visa & Mastercard via PayGate secure links and Bank transfers.
  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA

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