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Auction #75 begins on
30 May 2019 16:30 GMT

[Andersson (Charles John)]

MSS Notebooks of J H Gurney for the published work NOTES ON THE BIRDS OF DAMARALAND

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2 8vo notebooks - Vol1 1: 93 leaves numbered 1 - 93 (230 x 180 mm) with white ruled paper. Vol 2: 176 leaves numbered 94 - 269 (240 x 200mm) with unruled blue paper pages. Both are written on the recto of each page. The volumes have leather spines and marbled paper boards, the second one also has leather corners and matching marbled end papers. They are worn at the edges of the covers, the contents are bright. As working notebooks there are corrections alterations and deletions on many pages.

Each bird described in the notebooks has a reference to Layard, Sharpe, Gould or Le Vaillant: For example: No 58 Cypselus barbatus in the first notebook on leaf 75 corresponds to no 59 on page 47 in the published volume.

These two volumes contain Gurney's manuscript working notes for the edition of Andersson's Notes on the Birds of Damaraland and the adjacent countries of South West Africa published posthumously in 1872. The notebooks complement the printed volume and the recent printing of Baines's Birds of South Africa with descriptions from the text of Anderssons' Notes. Most importantly they represent the closest we have to Andersson's own working papers from which Gurney prepared these notes.

Charles John Andersson married Sarah Jane Aitchison in Cape Town in July 1860, Andersson and his wife returned to Otjimbingwe to trade. While this was at first successful, his active support of the Hereros in their war with the Namas resulted in the Namas confiscating the cattle he was sending south to the Cape. At this time, in 1863, Thomas Baines* visited Otjimbingwe and illustrated some of the birds Andersson had collected. In June 1864 Andersson led the Hereros in a successful battle against the Namas, but was severely wounded in the process and went to Cape Town for medical attention in May 1865. While recuperating he undertook a systematic description of the birds of Damaraland, with assistance from E.L. Layard, but did not finish the work.

After Andersson's death in 1867 the manuscript, with the bulk of his remaining collections, passed into the hands of the British ornithologist John H. Gurney and was published in 1872 as C. J..Anderssons' work Notes on the birds of Damaraland and the adjacent countries of South-West Africa arranged and edited by John Henry Gurney. It is one of the few major works on Namibian birds.

The birds collected by Andersson during his 16 years of travelling formed an important contribution to the material available to European and South African ornithologists and several species or subspecies were named in his honour. Anthoscopus Caroli (Grey Penduline-Tit), still commemorates the Latin version of his first name (Carolus). The University of Lund awarded him an honorary doctorate, but the news reached South Africa only after his death. Andersson's Vlei, south of Lake Ngami, was named after him.

John Henry Gurney John Henry the younger may be said to have been born an ornithologist; his father, having made him familiar with birds, both living and dead, from his infancy. He was born at Easton Lodge, near Norwich, on 31st July, 1848, and was educated at Harrow School. For a short time he was in Messrs. Backhouse's bank at Darlington, but the greater part of his life was spent in Norfolk where he ably fulfilled his duties as a large landowner and country gentleman and, as such, took a prominent part in local, religious and philanthropic work.

As an ornithologist J. H. Gurney has been said to have had an international reputation. He was elected a Fellow of the Zoological Society in 1868, a Member of the British Ornithologists' Union in 1870 and a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1885.

  • Sold By: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
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  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
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  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA

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