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Captain W. Cornwallis Harris (1807-1848)

Portraits of Game and Wild Animals Of Southern Africa
London, 1840.
Lithographs with original hand-coloring.
Sir William Cornwallis Harris (1807-1848) was the epitome of the "Great White Hunter."  After graduating military college, he was appointed to the Bombay headquarters at sixteen years of age.  A series of promotions and consequent locational changes brought Harris, en route to a new post, to the Cape of Good Hope, where he was detained for two years by a medical board.  On the voyage, Marris had befriended the avid hunter Richard Williamson of the Bombay civil establishment, and the two had arranged an expedition into the interior in quest of big game.  At the time, South Africa had attracted Europe's attention owing to the Dutch colonists' exodus.  For years, there had been dangerous encounters with the fierce Zulu tribes of "Dingaan," in present-day central Natal, South Africa.
After conferring with the noted African naturalist, Dr. Andrew Smith who had just returned from the interior, both Harris and Williamson headed northeasterly from Algoa Bay, Cape Province.  Following the Orange River through Basutoland, they finally encountered the kraals of the famous Matabelechief "Moselikatze."  Through the chief's help, they returned to the colony via a new and previously closed route.  Their safari, which lasted almost two years, allowed them to encounter a great variety of large game in new territories.
Harris communicated an account of his travels in Southern Africa to both the Royal Geographical Society of London, and the Geographical Society of Bombay.  In 1840 he published the Portraits of Game Animals, the first with pictures drawn by Harris, and reproduced on stone by F. Howard in London.  All of the prints are in excellent condition, and each is accompanied by the original text describing the first impressions of the “Cape Colonists” of the particular species pictured in each print.