First edition of this sumptuous work illustrated about South Africa.
Brunet, II, 489; Graesse, II, p. 325; Gay 3136; Hardie 133; Mendelssohn, I, 411-12; Prideaux 245; Tooley 168; Abbey Travel 321.
“The scarcest and most valuable of the large atlas folios of South African illustration... a most magnificent work.” (Mendelssohn).
Samuel Daniell (1775-1811) is an English painter and a drawer who arrived in South Africa on December 9th 1799. He was appointed secretary and artist of the 1801-1802 expedition from the Cape of Good Hope to Bechuanaland, led by P. J. Truter and William Somerville. Bak in England, Daniell published African landscapes and animals (1804-1805) thanks to the support of his uncle the painter Thomas Daniell and his brother and engraver William Daniell.
Then he went to Ceylan (the current Sri Lanka) where he made sketched of landscapes and people before dying of the tropical fever.
The texts of each illustration are by Somerville and Sir John Barrow, a British geographer who participated also in the first British expeditions in South Africa. Samuel Daniell was drawing the animals in their natural habitat, and his work was appreciated for his precision and the care he would give to details. The collection includes sketches of people he met during the expedition and several outstanding landscapes.
Thomas Sutton wrote about the present work: “The coloured plates represent local scenery, animals singly or in groups in their natural surroundings, native types, and views of kraals' (p.107).
Il poursuit: 'It may safely be said that never before had drawings of animals been presented so beautifully in their natural scenery. Particularly fine are the plates of the gnu, springbok, and the hippopotamus. The landscapes are equally fine, those of Sitsikamma, with the interlacing jungle trees and elephants watering, the Hottentot Kraal, and the Korah Hottentot Village being lovely things. Apart from these, such plates as the Halt of a Boor's Family and Boors returning from Hunting are valuable records of early itinerant life in South Africa ... [Dans cet ouvrage, Samuel Daniell] shows full control over his medium: his freshness of approach is apparent; his composition and colour are full of beauty; his animals are delicately drawn, his figure-studies full of life and sincerity and warmth' (pp.107 -111).”
“Mr. Daniell embarked for the Cape of Good Hope, whence, after some stay, he passed into the interior of Africa, collecting much valuable information on his way, and making drawings of all the objects worthy of attention, even while continually assailed by hardships, and exposed to danger in very various shapes. In this journey Mr. Daniell was accompanied by two other scientific travelers; and this small party succeeded in penetrating further to the North-East than any Europeans had previously reached in the same direction. Of these drawings many have been engraved and given to the world in his publication entitled ‘African Scenery’, a work which, for design and execution, as well as novelty and variety of materials, has obtained very distinguished approbation. By all those who are capable of duly appreciating such labours, this volume alone would have been regarded as a testimonial not less honourable to Mr. Daniell’s zeal and industry as a lover of natural history, than to the spirit and fidelity of his pencil as an artist; but, during a residence in Africa of more than four years, he was so eager in the pursuit of his favourite study, that he amassed another very large collection of drawings also illustrative of that interesting quarter of the globe…” (The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 82).
The sumptuous illustration is composed of two frontispieces and 30 aquatints finely hand-colored at the time, representing African landscapes, animals in their natural environment, inhabitants of villages, etc.
A precious copy of this rare and sumptuous work preserved in its contemporary binding.