MAJOR HENRY CROMWELL WILKINS
Manuscript journal (fair copy) of 'A Voyage to Constantinople by Two Liverish Subjects under the advice of their medical Man' by Major Henry Cromwell Wilkins (Mayor of Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire), describing a journey to Gibraltar, Malta, Syra, Smyrna, Ephesus, Constantinople and 'Panderma' [Bandirma] on the Cunard steamship Atlas, 5 April - 22 May 1891, written in black ink in a neat copyist's hand with margins ruled in red, including an 'Epitome' of the contents, ten small sketches in pen, ink and wash various scenes including the castle of Rumeli Hisar, a graveyard in Constantinople, the remains of the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, and other places, plans of two harbours, and nine sepia photographs mounted in the text; blank spaces left for additional photographs; satirical verses entitled 'Parting ode to our Scotch hero S.S.Atlas, 21 May 1891' written in a different hand at the end, pencilled annotation inside upper cover ('Captain Wilkins, The Lodge, Chipping Norton'), altogether approximately 143 pages, 4to, blanks (the photographs slightly faded), contemporary maroon half calf over marbled boards, spine gilt in compartments, gilt calf lettering piece on upper board (slightly rubbed), 270 x 210 mm
A 'condensed diary of what happened from Day to Day' on a voyage to the Eastern Mediterranean, including observations of street scenes in Constantinople and other towns and descriptions of the coasts and countryside, also generally unflattering comments on the two travellers' fellow-passengers (particularly the manners of an uncouth Glaswegian) and on the discomforts on board. Wilkins enthuses at Smyrna, 'a most wonderful looking place...The houses look very white and the whole place extends a considerable distance....All the houses run right down to the Esplanade and consist of Hotels, bars chantant, theatres and places of amusement with some private houses here and there.' On an expedition by train to Ephesus he records' in the gardens and fields nearby were parts of columns, splendid carving of all descriptions lying about everywhere and anyhow. The wretched cottages even were mostly built of marble and in the sides of the walls might be seen carvings of heads and old inscriptions....We went inside the Temple and other erections and there was quite sufficient left to convince me how grand they had been....We saw what little is left of the Temple of Diana and her Bath, the Gates of Persecution. St Johns Church and Sarcophagus, also the old city walls or part of them ...we had nothing like seen all'.
Major Wilkins visited Ephesus before the Austrian excavations of the city commenced in 1895.