Single sheet (17 ¾ x 23 ¾ inches). Fine aquatint engraving of a wildebeest with original hand color.
First edition. A stunning hand-colored aquatint of a gnu, or wildebeest, from Samuel Daniell’s “African Scenery and Animals,” which has been called “the scarcest and most valuable of the large atlas folios of South African illustrations. The two volumes form a most magnificent work” (Mendelssohn). This beautiful illustration shows the gnu, a member of the antelope family native to Africa.
“Unable to make a living as a landscape painter in London, Daniell travelled to the Cape of Good Hope in 1799 in the suite of Sir George Yonge, governor and commander-in-chief at the Cape. His subsequent friendship with Lieutenant-General Francis Dundas resulted in his appointment as secretary and draughtsman to a mission to visit the country of the Booshuanas (Bechuanaland) under Mr Truter and Dr Somerville, in October 1801, to purchase cattle to replace those lost in the Cape Frontier War. During the perilous 700 mile trek to Lataku, the seat of King Mooliahaben of the Booshuanas, Daniell made a large number of drawings of the landscape, the wild animals, and the inhabitants of the interior. The full account of this journey is given as an appendix to Sir John Barrow’s Voyage to Cochin China (1805), in which four engravings after Daniell’s drawings are included. A year later the second edition of Sir John Barrow’s Travels into the Interior of South Africa included eight engravings, by Thomas Medland, after Daniell’s drawings. Daniell returned to England in 1803 and immediately began to work up his drawings for publication in his most important work African Scenery and Animals” (Charles Greig for DNB). Picturing Animals in Britain, 1750-1850, 86. Abbey. Travel 321. Mendelssohn I, p. 412. Tooley 168.