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Auction #77 begins on
29 Aug 2019 16:30 GMT

Cumming (Roualeyn Gordon)


With notices of the native tribes, and anecdotes of the chase of the Lion, Elephant, Hippopotamus, Giraffe, Rhinoceros, &c.

Published: John Murray, London, 1850

Edition: Second edition

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With illustrations in two volumes.

Second edition: 2 volumes, 386 + 381 pages, engraved frontispiece and title vignette in each volume, and added title page, 12 plates, map, original brown cloth with gilt vignettes on the upper covers, recased preserving the original decorative gilt back strip, light foxing, a good set.

The added engraved title page read: A hunter's life in South Africa.

Mendelssohn (Sidney) South African Bibliography volume 1, page 399: A hunter and sportsman from boyhood, Cumming was in his element in South Africa, which was a regular hunter's paradise in the first half of the nineteenth century. His youth was passed in the county of Moray, and after finishing his education at Eton, he joined the 4th Madras Light Cavalry. In 1839 he sailed for India and, touching at the Cape, had a foretaste of the splendid sport that he was able to enjoy there in later years. The climate of India did not agree with him, and he left that country and spent a few years hunting in Scotland and America, where he obtained a commission in the Royal Veteran Newfoundland Companies.

He exchanged into the Cape Riflemen in 1843, and after some uneventful months spent under Colonel Somerset in Kaffraria, he sold out of the army and decided " to penetrate into the interior farther than the foot of civilised man had yet trodden to vast regions which would afford abundant food for the gratification of the passion of my youth, the collecting of hunting trophies and objects of interest in science and natural history.

Cumming started on October 23, 1843, from Grahamstown, in the direction of Albany and the Great Fish River, and passing through Cradock, soon found himself in a country which was absolutely teeming with game. He got on well with the Boers. After a surfeit of springbok hunting, the author proceeded to the Orange River and Griqualand West, and soon after met Messrs. Murray and Oswell, and later, on arriving at Kuruman, was welcomed by Mr. Moffat. After a few days' stay at Kuruman he recommenced his travels, and soon after met David Livingstone, who gave him plenty of information respecting hunting and exploring. Gordon Cumming appears to have hunted every species of South African fauna, and to have enjoyed an amount of sport almost unique even amongst the mighty hunters of Africa.

The narrative is valuable for the account of the state of the country at this period, as well as for the excellent description afforded of the natives of the interior, and of the up-country Boers, while the interesting zoological and botanical notes give added value to the work. After five years of incessant travel the author returned to England, taking the Cape wagon which had accompanied him throughout his journeys, and his large collection of trophies, the whole weighing about thirty tons.

  • Overall Condition: A Good Set
  • Size: 8vo (200 x 130 mm)
  • Sold By: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email:
  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Visa & Mastercard and Bank transfers
  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA

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