HARRIS, Sir William Cornwallis (1807-1848)
Portraits of the Game and Wild Animals of Southern Africa, delineated in their native haunts, during a hunting expedition from the Cape Colony as far as the Tropic of Capricorn, in 1836 and 1837, with sketches of the field sports. By Captain W. Cornwallis Harris... drawn on stone by Frank Howard
London: printed by Green & Martin and H.W.Martin, published for the Proprietor by W.Pickering, and to be had of P.& D.Colnaghi and T.Cadell, 1840[-1842]. Folio. (21 1/8 x 14 1/4 inches). Lithographic additional title with hand-coloured vignette, 30 hand-coloured lithographic plates by Frank Howard after Harris, 30 uncoloured lithographic vignette illustrations. Minor foxing to the text.
Contemporary red half morocco over cloth boards, bound by Hammond, spine in seven compartments with raised bands, black morocco-lettering-piece in the second, the others with an animal decoration in gilt, marbled endpapers, gilt edges.
A fine copy of the large paper issue 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 [i.e. large paper, as here] or on 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 both titles in their first states, dated 1840.
Captain Harris, an officer in the East India Company's Bombay Engineers, was invalided to the Cape for two years, from 1835-1837. In 1836, after conferring with the naturalist Dr. Andrew Smith, he and Richard Williamson set out 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) , octavo, with a map and 4 plates); encouraged by the favourable reception, Harris went on to publish the present work which was based around his sketches of the game and wild animals he had encountered in his travels. In 1841 he was sent to open up trade relations with the ancient Christian kingdom of Shoa (Shwa, now the southern-most 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 where he died in October 1848 (DNB) .
Abbey Travel I, 335; Mendelssohn I, p.688; Nissen ZBI 1843; Schwerdt I, p.231; Tooley 247.