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    Sale 1910

    Sporting And Wildlife Art Including The Collection Of Doug And Ellen Miller

    28 November 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 157

    William R. Leigh (American, 1866-1955)

    Baboons in the Lukenia Hills; and Gorillas in the River

    Price Realised  


    William R. Leigh (American, 1866-1955)
    Baboons in the Lukenia Hills; and Gorillas in the River
    signed 'W.R. LEIGH' (lower right)
    pen and black ink heightened with white on paper
    13½ x 10½ in. (34.3 x 26.7 cm.) and 13½ x 10 in. (34.3 x 25.4 cm.)
    two (2)

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    Leigh's encounter with the baboons was in the Lukenia Hills, Kenya, twenty miles from Nairobi. He described his first sighting, 'As I gazed to the south at a large kopje which towered against the sky a bare half-mile away I became aware of a puzzling activity on its summit. Peering through my field-glasses, I found myself looking at baboons in their natural surroundings for the first time in my life. Yes, baboons - a gang of them, big, and little, all squatting and trying to make out what I was' (W.R. Leigh, Frontiers of Enchantment, London, 1939, p. 24 and 26.

    Leigh went in search of gorillas where Akeley had previously taken one and described the dense jungle environment, 'Wild celery, torn up by the roots, and smashed and broken for its tender shoots, conjured up vivid pictures of gorillas, for this was their food. They had passed here not many hours before. Nothing could fit into these surroundings more appropriately than those grisly monsters. How perfectly their awkward forms, their ungainly movements, accorded with the grotesque spirit of the place!' (op. cit., p. 164). Akeley had described exactly the location where he had taken the gorilla and Leigh incorporated this into the illustration, featuring also the leopard in the distance which frequently stalked the camp. The search was long and arduous and when Leigh finally saw the gorillas for the first time he was amazed, 'Staring at him for the first time amid his own wild jungles, I was dazed. I had to clear away the cobwebs of legend and tradition from the attic corners of my brain, rub both eyes, and look again - and again!...' (op. cit., p. 179).


    with Fenn Galleries Ltd., Santa Fe, from whom purchased.

    Pre-Lot Text



    W.R. Leigh, Frontiers of Enchantment, London, 1939, illustrated p. 29 and 167.