Sir William Cornwallis Harris (1807-1848)
Portraits of the Game and Wild Animals of Southern Africa. London: printed by H.W.Martin, published for the proprietor by William Pickering and others, 1840 - . Colombier 2° (583 x 417mm). Lithographic additional title with hand-coloured vignette, 30 hand-coloured lithographic plates by Frank Howard after Harris, 30 uncoloured lithographic vignette illustrations. 3pp list of subscribers. (Additional title with margins slightly shaved, some spotting or light soiling, occasional small marginal tears, most neatly repaired.) Later olive half morocco, spine in seven compartments with raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second and fourth, g.e., by Riviere & Son (joints tender with small splits to head and foot).
LARGE-PAPER ISSUE, bound from the original parts with the first state titles, both dated 1840, of 'One of the most important and valuable of the large folio works on South african fauna' (Mendelssohn). The work was issued in five parts between 1840 and 1842, either on Colombier paper with tailpieces or on the smaller Imperial paper without tailpieces. It was re-issued in 1844 by Richardson and again in 1849 by Bohn. The present copy is in the work's most desirable form with titles dated 1840 on Colombier paper with tailpieces. Captain Harris, an officer in the East India Company's Bombay Engineers, was invalided to the Cape for two years, 1835-7. In 1836, after conferring with Dr. Andrew Smith, he and Richard Williamson set off from Algoa Bay, by way of Somerset and the Orange River and travelled in a north-easterly direction until they reached the kraals of the famous Matabele chief Moselikatze. He proved friendly and allowed them to return via a previously closed route. The first published account of the journey appeared in Bombay in 1838 (Narrative of an Expedition in Southern Africa, 8°, with a map and 4 plates); encouraged by the favourable response, he went on to publish the present work which was based around his sketches of the game and wild animals he encountered on his travels. In 1841 he was sent to open up trade relations with the ancient christian Kingdom of Shoa (or Shwa, now the southernmost part of Ethiopia). His success was such that he received a knighthood in 1844, in the same year he published his account of this second journey. He returned to India in 1846 and died near Poona "of a lingering fever" (DNB) in October 1848. Mendelssohn I, p.688; Tooley 247; Abbey Travel 335; Nissen ZBI 1843; Schwerdt I, p.231.