Sketches representing the Native Tribes, Animals, and Scenery of Southern Africa, from Drawings made by the late Mr. Samuel Daniell, engraved by William Daniell
Author: Daniell, Samuel Year: 1820 Edition: First edition Publisher: London; William Daniell and William Wood Category: Africa South Price: € 5,000.-
A genuine, extremely rare large paper copy of an otherwise not uncommon book.
A magnificent contemporary full calf binding with a crosshatch pattern and the boards panelled in gilt; gilt corner pieces within a single gilt filet, surrounded along the edges by gilt stamped floral rolls within double gilt filets with four corner pieces. Gilt dentelles and inner-dentelles. Oblong folio, bound upright. The spine divided in seven compartments by six gilt decorated raised bands with double gilt filets at either side and with the title on a black morocco label in the second compartment. The other compartments gilt tooled within triple gilt filets with corner pieces. All edges marbled. Some leaves watermarked " J. Whatman / Turkey Mills / 1819 ".
Grey pastedowns and flyleaves with the bookplate of G.R. Nicolaus (¹) on the front pastedown.
Collation: 2 preliminary blanks, half title, title, dedication page, editor's foreword, contents leaf, followed by 48 plates printed on India paper, each print followed by a leaf with descriptive letterpress, 2 trailing blanks.
The plates are soft-grounded etchings and have all been engraved by Samuels brother William, while the accompanying text was written either by Mr. John Barrow or Dr. William Somerville. Minor soiling to the boards, light rubbing to extremities, light foxing to the mounts of a few plates, the corners of just a very few mounts creased, but overall a clean and attractive copy of a very special book.
An extremely rare and exceptional copy, both in size and in completeness. Abbey lists various oblong and upright sizes in inches, viz.:
10 ½ x 14 ¾ Abbey's copy 11 x 15 Mendelssohn I 13 ⅝ x 11 British Museum 13 x 10 Mendelssohn II 12 ¾ x 16 ½ Victoria and Albert Museum (VAM)
He concludes that only the VAM copy is a large paper copy. In the VAM copy the plates are printed on India paper, as in a few other copies, while, as auction records prove, most copies were printed on plain paper, the cheapest variant (£ 3. 3s) published, according to Abbey. The prices of the other issues were respectively £ 4. 4s for the copies with the plates printed on India paper and £ 8. 8s for the large paper issue with the plates on India paper as well.
Neither in ABPC nor in RBH there is a record for a large paper copy.
The size of our copy is 12 ¾ x 16 ⅓ inch (325 x 415 x mm), so it matches the size of the VAM copy, however, unlike the VAM copy it is bound upright.
Samuel died in Ceylon in 1811. His brother obtained the drawings and decided to have them published.
Abbey: "Of his choice of soft-ground etching for the reproduction of his brother's drawings William says he has merely to add with respect to the Engravings, that he has endeavoured to transfuse into them the spirit of the originals by a process which appeared to him best calculated for the attainment of that object. It is a most beautiful and sensitive work. One can well believe that William has not intruded himself but has indeed kept the spirit of the originals."
Abbey Travel 326, Gay 3136, Hosken p. 55, Mendelssohn I, pp. 412, 413.
(¹) G.R. Nicolaus was a partner in the London based firm of Mercer, Nicolaus, and Co., a firm specialized in worldwide geological surveys for metals, fossil fuels and the like. He also was a great bibliophile.