TRAVELS IN THE INTERIOR OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

TRAVELS IN THE INTERIOR OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

(London: The Batchworth Press, 1953).

"The most valuable and accurate work on South Africa published up to the first quarter of the nineteenth century, and embracing a description of a large part of the Cape Colony and Bechuanaland at this period... The illustrations in the volumes are characterized by great beauty and accuracy... The work is now extremely scarce, many copies having been broken up in the middle of the nineteenth century for the plates." - Mendelssohn commenting on the first edition.
William Burchell travelled in South Africa between 1810 and 1815 making one of the greatest scientific explorations of his day. He collected over 50,000 specimens, and covered over 7000 km, much of which was over completely unexplored terrain. The description of his journey, Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa, appeared in 1822 and 1824 and is now highly prized and of great scarcity. There is little doubt that a third volume was planned, since the second volume ends long before completion of his journey.
On 25 August 1815 he sailed from Cape Town with 48 crates of specimens aboard the vessel "Kate", calling at St. Helena and arriving back at Fulham on 11 November 1815. He traveled in Brazil between 1825 and 1830, again collecting a large number of specimens, including over 20,000 insects. The journals covering his Brazil expedition are missing, as are his diaries relating to his later travels. His field note books, detailing his plant collections, survive at Kew, and from those the latter part of his trip can be reconstructed.
His collection of plants, skins, skeletons, insects, seeds, bulbs and fish is considered to be the most extensive ever made in Africa, before or since. After his death by suicide, the bulk of his plant specimens went to Kew and the insects to Oxford University Museum. He is known for the copious and accurate notes he made to accompany every collected specimen, detailing habit and habitat, as well as the numerous drawings and paintings of landscapes, portraits, costumes, people, animals and plants. Item #28721

2 volumes. First edition thus, limited to 1250 copies, reprinted from the original edition of 1822-4 with some additional material and an introduction by I Schapera. Extensively illustrated with fine reproductions of the plates and vignettes from the original edition, including fine full colour plates. Tall 8vo, publisher's original blue cloth lettered on the spine in gilt. xxix, 381, 3; xvi, 473 pp. A fine set, largely unopened and unread, internally near as mint, the blue cloth mellowed just a bit at the spine panels but the gilt still bright, only very minor evidence of age.

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Price: $395.00