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Alfred Thomas Elwes and John Jellicoe for GEORGE P. SANDERSON, Original Drawings for Thirteen Years Among the Wild Beasts of India

  • $ 85,000.00

Alfred Thomas Elwes and John Jellicoe for GEORGE P. SANDERSON
Original Drawings for Thirteen Years Among the Wild Beasts of India
2 volumes. Oblong folio 21 x 15 7/8 in.
ca. 1878

19 original pencil drawings (from 13 1/4 x 10 in) by Alf. T. Elwes and J. Jellicoe mounted under clear conservation windows. Modern half red calf over cream buckram, gilt titles to upper boards, spines with raised bands in 5 compartments, green labels with gilt titles and text to second, others with gilt rules and decorative diamond motif. Housed in matching buckram slipcase, paper label to cover.

A fine set of original pencil and charcoal drawings, all but one of which signed by the artists Alf. T. Elwes and J. Jellicoe.  The drawings are from George Sanderson’s Thirteen Years Among the Wild Beasts of India, first published in 1879. In addition to examples of elephants and cheetahs, the images here also depict camp scenes and more general landscapes.

George Peress Sanderson (1848–1892) was a British naturalist was born in India in 1848.  He was the son of Rev. Daniel Sanderson, who was a Methodist missionary in India from 1842 to 1867. George was sent home for schooling to his father’s family in Cockermouth, Cumbria. He returned to India in 1864 at the age of 16.

During his employment in the irrigation department of Mysore with the British Government in India he found time for big game hunting which included tigers, elephants and the Indian Bison.  His work involved the maintenance of 150 miles of canals around Hunsur as Assistant Channel Superintendent. Over the years he rose to become head of the irrigation department and was in charge of 716 miles of canals that went through the forests. He encountered elephants and tigers during this period and saw that some roving herds were destructive and suggested that they be captured. In September 1875, he was put in temporary charge of an elephant catching team of Bengal and worked in the Garo and Chittagong hills. They captured 85 elephants before he returned to Mysore.  He introduced a novel way of catching wild elephants for subsequent taming and training in forestry work. Instead of trapping elephants in pits, he tried a method of driving herds into a kheddah, a fenced, ditched enclosure. In some cases he had sweet sorghum planted to attract the elephants.  His techniques were a spectacular success and in 1889 he organized a demonstration to entertain Prince Albert, Duke of Clarence & Avondale, when he visited India. The press referred to Sanderson as the elephant (or hathee) king. It has been suggested that Petersen Sahib, the man who caught all the elephants for the Government of India, in the Jungle Book story, Toomai of the Elephants by Rudyard Kipling, was a reference to George Peress Sanderson.

Sanderson wrote a book, Thirteen Years Among the Wild Beasts of India, based to a large extent on his life at Morlay in the Biligirirangan Hills. The drawings contained in these volumes are by John Jellicoe and Alfred Elwes for Sanderson’s book.  John Jellicoe (1843–1909) was born in London, England, and was a figure painter and illustrator. He studied art in London and exhibited his first drawings in 1865. Alfred Thomas Elwes (A. T. Elwes) (c. 1841– c.1917) was a British Natural History illustrator of mammals and birds. For most of his life he lived and worked in England, illustrating various natural history books of the nineteenth century as well as for Illustrated London News.

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