Antiquarian Auctions

Auction #76 begins on
11 Jul 2019 16:30 GMT

Harris (William Cornwallis)

NARRATIVE OF AN EXPEDITION INTO SOUTHERN AFRICA DURING THE YEARS 1836, AND 1837

From the Cape of Good Hope through the territories of the Chief Moselekatse to the Tropic of Capricorn, With a sketch of the recent emigration of the border colonists and a zoological appendix. Illustrated by a map and drawings.

Published: Printed at the American Mission Press, Bombay, 1838

Edition: First Edition First Issue

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First edition first issue. xviii, 406 pages, frontispiece - Moselekatse, King of the Amazooloo, 3 lithographic plates, half leather with red title label gilt on the spine - which is split at the bottom, watermarks on the covers and on the preliminary pages of text - including the frontispiece, inscription on the front free endpaper over embossed ownership mark as well as another owner's name written on the title page, foxing on the plates, the back free endpaper has been torn out, overall a good copy.

Sold With All Faults (W.A.F.) and lacks the map, which according to the Directions to Binders should be bound in opposite page 75.

A South African Bibliography, Volume 2 page 506: The plates are 4 lithographs by Harris, all signed: On stone by W.C. Harris. The frontispiece has a caption - Moselekatse King of the Amazooloo and the third plate has a caption - Matabili Warrior, the second and fourth plates are without captions.

E.C. Tabler in Africana Notes and News volume 12 no 2 June 1956 pages 61 - 62 describes three issues of the first edition of which this is the first. A list of subscribers that contains 409 names, mostly Anglo Indians and Indians for 430 copies occupies pages 399 - 406. This edition also contains a prospectus for Harris's Portraits of Game and Wild Animals of Southern Africa on pages 397 - 398. It should be noted that the plates are attributed to Harris as engraver, but in the introduction he complains of the poor work of Indian engravers employed - perhaps he meant the men who printed them.

Kennedy (R.F.) Africana Repository page 124: The 1st edition first issue also refers to the note by Edward Tabler concerning the engraving of the plates (See above)

Mendelssohn (Sidney) South African Bibliography volume 1 pages 686 - 688: The first edition of this well-known and valuable work. The author states, in his Introduction, that from his boyhood upwards he was affected with "shooting madness," in consequence of which he was considered by his "partial friends to be fitting food for shot and powder." Accordingly he was entered at the Military College, and at sixteen was already an officer in the Engineers. In the course of his military career in India the Bombay Medical Board ordered him to proceed to the Cape of Good Hope for two years, with a welcome recommendation to travel, a hint which he immediately accepted, determining to use his opportunities of contributing to the geography and natural history of the countries he intended to explore, as well as of enjoying the incomparable hunting then to be obtained in South Africa.

He arrived at the Cape when the Great Trek was the burning topic of the day, the subject of severe strictures, as well as of sympathetic approval an event without parallel in our colonial history, and he was enabled to give some reliable and interesting details with regard to the proceedings of the emigrant farmers, together with a careful and unbiased account of the motives and grievances which led to their perilous and adventurous expatriation. The author sailed from Bombay on March 16, 1836, and on board made the acquaintance of Mr William Richardson, who agreed to join in the expedition; and on their arrival in Cape Town they met Dr. Andrew Smith, from whom they received valuable information as to their journey ...There are two chapters on the "Great Trek," and in the Appendix there is a description of South Africa "Ferae Naturae." There is also an interesting map "exhibiting the relative positions of the emigrant farmers and the native tribes."

Czech (Kenneth) Bibliography of African Big Game Hunting Books 1785 -1999, page 119: While the first edition published in Bombay is scarce, the 3rd, 4th and 5th editions are the most sought after of this famous African exploration and sporting work due to the wonderful coloured plates of African game and scenery. Harris journeyed to the Meritsane River where he encountered a herd of quaggas and brindled 'gnoos' he estimated at 15,000 head. He bagged eland and was attacked by lion in the region. Crossing the Mariqua River, he hunted ostrich and white rhinoceros. Entering the Cashan Mountains, he collected elephant, the proceeded to the Limpopo Valley where he hunted buffalo and hippopotamus, with additional sport after giraffe, black rhinoceros, sable, and lion. Harris's work is valuable as it presents a detailed picture of the South African game fields prior to the growing pressure of civilization.

  • Overall Condition: A Good Copy
  • Size: 8vo (230 x 130 mm)
  • Sold By: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: africana@clarkes.co.za
  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Visa & Mastercard and Bank transfers
  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA


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