HARRIS, Captain William Cornwallis (1807-1848). Portraits of the Game and Wild Animals of Southern Africa. London: W. Pickering, 1840.

$ 16,000.00

HARRIS, Captain William Cornwallis (1807-1848). Portraits of the Game and Wild Animals of Southern Africa Delineated from Life 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... London: W. Pickering, 1840. London: W. Pickering, 1840.

Folio (21 4/8 x 15 4/8 inches). Additional lithographed title-page with hand-coloured vignette and 30 fine lithographed plates of native animals by Frank Howard after Harris, with original hand-colour, uncoloured lithographs at the end of each chapter (some minor spotting to the plates, text leaves more so). Modern half scarlet morocco, red cloth, gilt (extremities lightly scuffed). 

First edition, large paper issue, first issued in parts between 1840 and 1842. A career Army Officer, in 1836 Harris was invalided to Cape Colony for two years by a medical board. "On the voyage to the Cape, Harris, who from a very early age had been keen on shooting, made the acquaintance of Richard Williamson of the Bombay civil establishment, a noted hunter, and the two arranged an expedition into the African interior in search of big game. After conferring with Dr Andrew Smith, the African naturalist, then just returned from the interior, Harris and his friend started by ox-wagon from Algoa Bay, by way of Somerset and the Orange River, and travelled in a north-easterly direction until they reached the regions of the formidable Matabele (Ndebele) chief Mzilikaze. He proved friendly, and permitted the travellers to return to the Cape by a new and previously closed route by summer of 1837.

"Harris submitted an account of his travels in southern Africa to the Royal Geographical Society, London, and the Geographical Society of Bombay. He published a further account, Wild Sports in South Africa (1841). Under the title ‘Wild sports in South Africa, being a narrative…’, the same work appeared in London in 1841. Harris, a competent artist, also published Portraits of the Game Animals of Southern Africa, Drawn from Life in their Natural Haunts (1840) and Highlands of Ethiopia: a Narrative of a Mission to the Kingdom of Shoa (1844). He also published papers in the Zoological Society's Transactions and Proceedings, the Linnean Society's Proceedings, and elsewhere (H. M. Chichester, rev. James Falkner for DNB).