RGSSA Library Catalogue

Monday, 14 July 2014

let's go back to Rio!

A dynamic aspect of the RGSSA's collection is the mountain of primary source information it contains on social history.  It's so much more interesting to read about facets of history from a personal encounter with it rather than digesting boring lists of names and dates. Many of the travel books in the collection are primary sources of social history that frame personal travel experiences, events and observations in the exotic places of the distant past and capture a moment in time. 

Just one topical example in the collection—

Bell, Alured Gray, [1870-1925]
The Beautiful Rio de Janeiro.
London : William Heinemann, [1904]
RGSSA catalogue

For some time, Rio de Janeiro has constantly headlined news reports as the focus of the sporting world with major world events currently being held in Rio and over the next few years. In recent weeks, the football World Cup tournament has been played out in Brazil with the final match just played in Rio returning a World Cup victory for Germany.  Meanwhile, elite athletes world-wide are training for the next Olympiad in Rio in 2016.

The Bangu Football Grounds: Central Railway : p. 182.
[Founded in 1904]

However, a century ago, Rio de Janeiro was a very different place in 1914. This is the setting for a travel book in the RGSSA's collection. The Beautiful Rio de Janeiro was written by the Englishman, Alured Gray Bell, born in Alexandria, Egypt, 1870.  He relates his experiences of living in Rio in the years just prior to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.  It was the first English language publication to feature the city and today could easily carry the title, Lonely Planet guide to Rio in 1914.  Richly illustrated with almost one hundred 'moody' black and white photographs that depict a strangely unwelcoming Rio with desolate beaches. Throughout the book, numerous and charming full-page watercolours show the sights and sounds of Rio painted by various unknown artists in an avante-gard impressionist style.

It is difficult to imagine from Bell's wintry photograph of Ipanema Beach that it would become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.  Ipanema is where everyone in the world wants to visit in Rio as popularised in the song by Astrid Gilberto (1964) and now a fashionable seaside suburb in the southern part of the city.  Bell also includes a map of Rio in 1914.

Ipanema Beach: a South Atlantic Suburb of Rio : p. 30.

Perhaps, a little more inviting in colour—

South suburban Rio de Janeiro—Ipanema : p. 116.

Another icon synonymous with Rio de Janeiro is the statue of Christ the Redeemer that overlooks the city and completed in 1931. The statue sits atop a mountain aptly named Corcovado meaning "hunchback" in Portuguese and is often confused with nearby Sugarloaf Mountain.  Bell repeatedly describes Corcovado in the Tijuca Forest National Park as a 'frowning presence over the city'.  The following photograph shows the approach to Corcovado and its summit can be clearly seen 'frowning' in the distance, of course, sans statue.

"To go to Rio and not to go up to Corcovado is folly." : p. 50.

On the way to Corcovado : p. 48.

The Botafogo portion of Rio's Bay-side Avenue, overlooked by Corcovado Mountain : p. 8.

From Bell's introduction; the following conversation took place at the turn of the 20th century
Travelling across England after a two years' residence in Rio de Janeiro I found myself alone in the train with a schoolboy, aged ten, and asked him if he knew anything about Brazil.  "No," was the little Englishman's reply; "we are only doing Europe."  "But you know where it is?" I suggested.  "America," he replied rather timorously.  "And what do you imagine it to be like?" I asked.  "Don't know."  "But you must imagine something about it—is it all ice, do you think?"  He thought quite half a minute, and then ventured this very respectable guess: "Prairies and fields." Certainly he was right for a fifth of the country; but he should have added "forests, mountains and great rivers.
Bell continues to explain that his book was sponsored by Marshal Hermes da Fonseca, President of the Republic of the United States of Brazil (1910-1914). The residents of the 'River of January' are known as Cariocas (pronounced care-ree-o-cas) and very proud of their city and its landscape. The Brazilian President intended that English-speaking people should be "better acquainted than our schoolboy with the magnificent metropolis of Brazil." 

'pre-tango' days

Sample luxury cruising at its unrivaled very best in the author's opening paragraph and envy an itinerary seldom offered by modern cruise lines.

The Royal Mail Steam Packet "Arlanza" : p. 2.

My first visit to Brazil, 1909, was by the R.M.S.P. Asturias, twin-screw, 12,002 tons, then the latest and largest ship of this fine British merchant fleet.

The trip from Southampton gave the following itinerary: Cherbourg, Vigo, Lisbon (a morning and afternoon on shore in the pretty capital of the mother-country of Brazil), Madeira (a morning on shore), St. Vincent, Pernambuco (the first Brazilian port of call, eight days' sail from Madeira, during which the equator is crossed), Bahia (a day's sail), Rio de Janeiro (on the sixteenth day, allowing a night and a half-day on shore), Santos, Montevideo, and finally Buenos Aires on the twenty-first day. There was not a rough day throughout the passage, and only one hot day.  
I recall the morning swim in the large, improvised sail-bath on deck, between Lisbon and Pernambuco, as the hall-mark of a perfect voyage.  Lovely Brazilians and Argentines also haunt the memory from those so-called pre-Tango days and the 'regulation' fancy-dress ball of the Asturias. Wealth and luxury abounded on board; and if only more people knew of the pleasure of this stock voyage of the great steamship line, more would try it for the sake of health, education, art, novelty, and ease.
Chapter I. Between the United Kingdom and Brazil by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company : p. 1. 

Aboard a "Royal Mail" : p. 2.
In Bell's next chapter he describes the unspoilt vista he saw entering Rio de Janeiro Harbour by steamship.

We have turned from a southerly to a westerly course around Cape Frio, about latitude 23° South, just inside the Tropic of Capricorn, and after a few hours' steaming we are off the harbour entrance, and turn north to enter this peerless bay. Now to right and left are forest-clad mountains with stretches of buff beach on either shore, and islands which seem as sentinels of a treasure house.  We pass in.  In the mouth of the channel is the Island of Lage, dividing it into two passages.  

We take the western and broader passage, 950 yards wide, leaving close on our left the Sugar Loaf (Pao de Assucar) Mountain, 1,383 feet high, an almost scrubless rock.
Now the South Atlantic is dead-astern, and the majestic panorama unfolds—the mountain-guarded, pear-shaped, island-studded harbour, eighteen miles in length from south to north, and twelve miles at its widest point between the eastern and western shores.  On our immediate left lies Rio de Janeiro; we steam ahead for two miles and anchor from a quarter to half a mile off the city, or moor alongside the new and spacious quays.  We have passed several islets on the way in.  Around and about us everywhere are noble mountains and hills, the loftiest, the Organ Mountains, attaining upwards of 6,000 feet, closing in the bay on the north.
Chapter II. Rio de Janeiro and the Bay of Guanabara : p. 7.

A little bit of Guanabara Bay : p. 78.

"I have journeyed in five continents, and have yet to see the equal of the Bay of Guanabara" : p. 6.

'carnivalling' against one's will

Of course, no book on Rio is complete without the author's impression of Carnival
There is then Rio de Janeiro's greatest outburst, the annual Carnival. This amazing four days' interruption of all business does amaze and, at first brush, annoy the English or American business visitor. But so well is the whole thing done, and so really genuine becomes the universal fun-making, that one is caught carnivalling against one's will. It has been estimated that over 200,000 people can and do collect by day or night in the Avenida [Avenue] Rio Branco, all more or less on harmless mischief bent. The sobriety of the crowds is astonishing, so also is the squirting of perfumes, while the special parade of fancy and illuminated cars, organised by such carnival clubs as the Lieutenants of the Devil, and others, afford spectacles well worth seeing. Throughout Carnival motor-cars are at a premium, every car that the city contains being in full use for the four days.
Up in Petropolis I came in for a carnival of water. Everybody was exchanging water—water from garden hoses, from buckets, from water-balls.  With my companions I hired a carriage and proceeded to give and take all the water possible, and there was no lack of water trade.  The sober Legations were drawn into the frivolous deluge, and at one time between the balcony of the French Legation and a mock fire-brigade in the road an appalling water bombardment was in progress directed with spirit by the Minister's wife.  Very forlorn and very paper and confetti-strewn do the streets of Rio look before Carnival is finally swept up.  The more enthusiastic spirits then retire to their lairs, and premeditate more mad frolic for the carnival to come.

A bit of Petropolis : p. 76.

Residence of Mr. Frank H. Walter, Petropolis : p. 60.

Italian designs on Rio

Rio was undergoing major modernisation during the years Bell lived in the city. He devotes a chapter to the new architecture and highlights the role played by Italian design and architects. Rio's main street was Central Avenue but renamed the Avenida Rio Branco when it was modernised in 1914 and features in more than one hundred illustrations in the book. Antonio Januzzi is presented as a key figure for understanding the modern architecture of Rio and left his mark on some of the most beautiful buildings in the Avenue.  

Bell writes: "Despite the strong influence of French design, the new Rio owes much to Italian architects.  Still arise here and there copies of the Portuguese style, called with disdain by many Brazilians as "plum pudding' style".  Januzzi  designed more than 5000 buildings in the city and won two major design awards for his brilliant work in the Brazilian capital.  He received the decoration of Commander of the Italian Crown (1896) and the gold medal of the Exhibition of Turin (1898).  Worthy of note is the disdain with which the Brazilian elite regarded Portuguese architecture.  Bell identifies the style as having: "French windows, facade Spanish, English sills, German or Italian roof and shutters. Abuse of blue, green and red and the use of images of saints."

A portion of the Avenue of Royal Palms, Botanical Gardens : p. 172.

One of the best appointed libraries in the world ...
"The foreigner will do well to visit the National Library in Rio de Janeiro with its splendid rooms and halls.  The National Library is the best-equipped and the best-housed institution of its kind in South America.  It was founded by the Prince Regent of Portugal, Dom Joao, afterwards King Joao VI., who on coming to Rio de Janeiro in 1808 brought with him the Portuguese Royal Library, which consisted of some 60,000 volumes of old works. ... The National Library was at first housed in a large building at Largo da Lapa, but was later on transferred to the architecturally handsome pile in the Avenida Rio Branco, which it now occupies.  It was opened in 1910 in commemoration of the centenary of the foundation of the library. The building is fireproof and isolated from other buildings, and in every way suitable to house the valuable collection which it contains. The furniture is all of steel, and the elaborate manner in which the library is equipped makes it one of the best appointed in the world. It is divided into four sections: for printed matter, manuscripts, drawings, geographical maps and pictures and coins and medals."

The National Library staircase : p. 176.

To highlight, as mentioned, the dynamic of reading personal travel experiences in other times and the realisation that cultures and places constantly evolve and sadly not always for the better.
"You do not need to carry a revolver in Rio de Janeiro. Tram and motor traffic is dangerous as in any great capital; drunkenness is rare, and I am inclined to think that crime is also.  I have suffered twice from the pocket-picking fraternity, but it can be shown that the majority of this crowd is of the imported article.  If Rio suffers at all, it is not in the number, or the failure in detection, or the immunity from arrest of criminals, but in an excessive leniency of the courts and juries, Brazilians themselves constantly remarking a curious public sympathy with the accused. There is another peculiar anomaly in Rio. Gambling is, I believe, prohibited by law; but it is permitted openly under police control."
Chapter XV. Justice and police : 161.

To conclude with Bell's comments on sport in 1914—

In Rio de Janeiro climatic insistence makes sport of nearly every kind a very severe tax on the human frame during at least five months in the year. It is then a little surprising that, in a census recently taken of its readers by a Carioca daily, as to the king of sports, association football headed the list. Various enthusiasts recorded their reasons for this choice, and it remains an enigma to me why a sport that prohibits the use of the human hand should appeal so especially to Brazilians. The fact, however, is that "soccer" first, then rowing, and then horse-racing, with lawn tennis a long way next, and athletics almost nowhere, is the order of popularity of sport in Rio. It is really only in the last fifteen or twenty years that these games have been earnestly taken up, and yet with the material at her command Brazil ought not to be very far from the day when her athletes enter for the Olympic Games. There is one defect which I venture to think holds her back: the indifference of the Brazilian woman to the value and charm of sport; her aversion from exercise. Lawn-tennis has made very little headway, while golf is absolutely unknown. In the purely masculine sphere cricket has not taken on, and the princely game of polo does not exist. Under the spell of international rivalry, school and college athletics and gymnastics are now being cultivated, and her friends must hope to see Brazil follow the new lead of France among the Latin nations in these important fields.

Rugby does not seem to take root, only two clubs, the Paysandu and Rio Cricket, pretending to fifteens. Rowing is popular, and the Botafogo regattas especially so. The attendance of the President at the big regattas is almost de rigueur and both here and in the pretty football club grounds the attendance of mothers and sisters is visibly on the increase. I should not call the standard of rowing high; it is perhaps too amateurish to attain Henley form, but it is producing, with swimming, for which Rio supplies such perfect facilities, men of fine physique.

Olá to Jonathon who follows this blog and resides in the beautiful River of January.

original water-colour drawings of Rio! 

Of course, the RGSSA's collection holds many other resources regarding the discovery, exploration and history of Rio de Janeiro and the Americas. 

George Angas, by Charles Baugniet
The collection holds original water-colour drawings of Rio de Janeiro by George French Angas. A natural history painter, many of his sketches from his travels as a naturalist in the mid 1800s became the basis for lithographic plates used in his publications.  He was born at Newcastle upon Tyne and the son of George Fife Angus (1789-1879) who was a significant figure in establishing the Colony of South Australia. 

In 1844, George joined his brother, John Howard Angas in South Australia.  The brothers had been sent to Adelaide by their father to salvage the family fortune.  He explored and sketched extensively in South Australia, New South Wales, New Zealand and South Africa.  Several of his self-illustrated volumes are in the Society's collection, some in limited edition.

On a voyage from Sydney around Cape Horn to England, Angas was aboard the Royal Tar in 1846 when the ship was delayed in Rio de Janeiro for two weeks.  He did a number of water-colour drawings of Rio, some of his original drawings are in the RGSSA's collection.  They were intended for a book called The Scenery of Rio Janeiro but it was never published. Angas also describes his arrival in Rio de Janeiro, some fifty years before Bell's description and perhaps more eloquently, in his volume II of Savage life and scenes in Australia and New Zealand.  From his diary entry dated Dec. 2 [1846]— 
This morning we were cheered by the sight of land: the high mountains of South America were before us, in the province of Rio Janeiro.  The day broke gloriously, and it was beautiful in the extreme to see the Brazilian coast with its jagged and lofty peaks, now struggling through the mists of early day.
To the voyager, weary of the endless waters, land is a joyous spectacle; and to us it is gladdening to see the blue peaks of South America glittering in the pure sunshine, and inhale the fragrance of sweet blossoms from the shore, brought hither by the land-breeze during the night—to watch the green and golden dolphin, flashing like a blaze of jewels through the snowy foam—and to know that we are rapidly nearing an earthly paradise, and that the sparkling fish, radiant with beauty, and the stray birds and butterflies overhead that have wandered from the shore, are harbingers of more brightness and beauty upon the land that lies bathed in sunshine before us.  Such influences as these bring with them happy and buoyant spirits. Here, too, we saw the turtle, lying like little floating islets upon the surface of the water, with their heads stretched up into the morning sunshine.  Large and very singular-looking birds, with long wings and tails, soared above us; and as we neared the land, new beauties presented themselves every moment.  Passing the island of Raza—on which stands the lighthouse and Rodondo, a lofty abrupt cone—the Paya and Maya islands are seen to the right, scattered with cocoa-nut trees; and the Morris's isles, of tragic interest, lie still further distant. Here the grandeur of the mountains becomes very imposing: giant masses of rock—hurled, as it were, into the most wild and remarkable forms, resembling spires, cubes, and pyramids—rear their lofty summits, bare and naked, against the sky.
The entrance to the harbour of Rio Janeiro now faced us, guarded by the Sugar Loaf mountain on the left, and on the right by the conical rock above Santa Cruz. We speedily discovered houses, and forts, and flags, with crowds of shipping in the distance between the opening.  On the right of the entrance stands the fort of Santa Cruz: here no vessel is allowed to pass into the harbour without hailing, and reporting "her name," "where from," "number of clays out," &c.  The water is deep close alongside the fort, and any vessel not bringing up, or coming within hail, is immediately fired at, without the slightest ceremony, until she obeys these orders. Farther on, situated upon an island nearly in the centre of the harbour, is the fort of Vilganhon, which we had also to hail; and being permitted to pass, we were directed to our anchorage, not far from this latter fort, and about two miles from the shore.  Here we lay in company with other vessels that had put in for refreshments: ships waiting to take in or discharge cargo lie higher up the harbour, close to the city.
"Silent rapture" of the vast Atlantic
About eight miles from Rio Janeiro, beyond Boto Fogo, there is a lovely mountain-path leading to a ruined archway on the summit of the mountain-ridge that divides the harbour from the ocean.  I pursued it alone, and never shall I forget the silent rapture with which I stood by that arch and gazed around; looking down upon the gay harbour and the distant city on the one hand, while on the other lay a waste of wild and dreary sand-hills, intersected with glens of rich foliage, bounded by the immeasurable ocean—the vast Atlantic.  There was no sound save the distant roar of the sea, every wave of which I could see distinctly break along the shore for miles; and no sign of life but the busy throng of insects flitting around, and an occasional serpent gliding stealthily into the bushes. 
           Chapter IX. Voyage Round Cape Horn -- Rio Janeiro -- Arrival In England : p. 249.

Angas, George French, 1822-1886. 
Savage life and scenes in Australia and New Zealand
London : Smith, Elder, 1847
RGSSA catalogue

The Scenery of Rio Janeiro in a Series of Sketches. 
Eight watercolours, the first a design for a title page, 32 x 23 cm. the other seven all c. 23.2 x 32.3 cm. mounted on cards, in maroon linen folder. (MS. Id Rare Books Room)
These watercolours were never published. York Gate Library stamp on front of folder.
Not in Catalogue of the York Gate Library, 1886. Angas added titles in watercolour on the views and longer titles in pencil on the mounts. The pencil titles are repeated on backs of mounts.
If you would like to see these sketches please contact the library. 

Sandra Thompson
RGSSA distance cataloguer

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Edward William Lane

Edward William Lane, An Unprejudiced Man

I'm expecting an exciting contribution to the blog from Sandra, our "distance" cataloguer, but meantime, here is a note for you on what's currently cataloguing at RGSSA:

Lane, Edward William, 1801-1876.
An account of the manners and customs of the modern Egyptians: written in Egypt during the years 1833-1835.
The library holds 2 19th-century editions.
We come across all sorts of hidden gems as Sandra, David B. and I work our way (slowly and painfully!) through the uncatalogued book collection, and it seems a pity not to share some of them with you, So here goes.

"Interior of a Mosque"
Edward William Lane was one of Britain's greatest Arabic scholars of the 19th century. One of his accomplishments was a translation of the Thousand and One Nights (the "Arabian Nights.") If he was working today, we might consider him to be not just a linguist but a social anthropologist. He was also an artist, having worked as a young man under his older brother, Richard, a London lithographer.

His first trip to Egypt in 1825-1828 resulted in a written work and a portfolio of drawings about contemporary Egyptian society, which he failed to get published. However, he went back to Egypt in 1833-1835 in order to flesh out the work. His approach was to immerse himself in the local lifestyle, wearing the native costumes and speaking Arabic.

"Washing Before or After a Meal"
His illustrated account is "a perfect picture of what Lane saw in Egypt in 1833-5. Even twenty-five years later, the people and their habits had in many ways altered more than in several preceding centuries. We can never reconstruct Egypt as Lane saw it, except by reading Lane's description." (Biographical notice, 1890 ed.)
"A Tattooed Girl"
All aspects of the Egyptians' daily life, manners, habits, customs, and costume are described in meticulous detail. Here is his description of the ancient (and apparently already vanishing) custom of perfuming the departing guest:

In the houses of the rich, it used to be a common custom to sprinkle the guest, before he rose to take his leave, with rose-water or orange-flower-water; and to perfume him with the smoke of some odoriferous substance; but of late years this practice has become unfrequent. The scent-bottle, which is called "kumkum," is of plain or gilt silver, or fine brass, or china, or glass; and has a cover pierced with a small hole. The perfuming-vessel, or "mibkhar'ah," is generally of one or the other of the metals above mentioned: the receptacle for the burning charcoal is lined, or half filled, with gypsum-plaster; and its cover is pierced with apertures for the emission of the smoke.

The mibkhar'ah is used last: it is presented by a servant to the visitor or master, who wafts the smoke towards his face, beard, etc., with his right hand. Sometimes it is opened, to emit the smoke more freely. The substance most commonly used in the mibkhar'ah is aloes-wood, or benzoin, or cascarilla-bark. The wood is moistened before it is placed upon the burning coals. Ambergris is also used for the same purpose; but very rarely, and only in the houses of persons of great wealth, as it is extremely costly. As soon as the visitor has been perfumed, he takes his leave; but he should not depart without previously asking permission to do so, and then giving the selám, which is returned to him, and paying other set compliments, to which there are appropriate replies. If he be a person of much higher rank than the master of the house, the latter not only rises, but also accompanies him to the top of the stairs, or to the door of the room, and then commends him to the care of God.

An Ood? What is an Ood? Or is it an Oud?
You may know this, if you're into "world music" (foul expression) or happen to own a painting of an "Oud with Gourds." If you don't, William Lane can certainly enlighten you. It's one of the musical instruments of the Arab world that he describes in great detail and illustrates in the picture below. We'd spell it "oud" today. Look up Google Images if you want 5 million photographs of ouds in glorious or in some cases smudgy digital colour.

The "ood" is a lute, which is played with a plectrum. This has been for many centuries the instrument most commonly used by the best Arab musicians, and is celebrated by numerous poets. Its name (the original signification of which is "wood"), with the article el prefixed to it, is the source whence are derived the terms liuto in Italian, luth in French, lute in English, etc. The length of the ood, as represented in the middle of the accompanying engraving, measuring from the button, or angle of the neck, is twenty-five inches and a half. The body of it is composed of fine deal, with edges, etc., of ebony: the neck of ebony, faced with box and an ebony edge. On the face of the body of the instrument, in which are one large and two small shemsehs of ebony, is glued a piece of fishes' skin, under that part of the chords to which the plectrum is applied, to prevent the wood from being worn away by the plectrum.

The instrument has seven double strings; two to each note. They are of lamb's gut. The order of these double chords is singular: the double chord of the lowest note is that which corresponds to the chord of the highest note in our violins, etc.: next in the scale above this is the fifth (that is, counting the former as the first): then the seventh, second, fourth, sixth, and third. The plectrum is a slip of a vulture's feather.

"A damsel with a dulcimer, in a vision once I saw..."
I always imagined the dulcimer in the poem to be rather like an oud (well, okay, rather like a lute), but according to Lane it's very like a "kánoon" and in his picture that looks like a zither, to me:

So what does he say about it? I'll spare you the enormous detail, but yes, this sounds like a zither: "The 'kánoon' is a kind of dulcimer. ... The kánoon is sometimes made entirely of walnut-wood, with the exception of some ornamental parts. ... In the central part of the face of instrument is a circular piece of wood ... pierced with holes ... The instrument is played with two plectra; one plectrum attached to the fore-finger of each hand ... [and] placed on the knees of the performer." Yeah, okay: zither-like. The ancient zither that we had at home when I was little, passed on by some family friend who didn't want it, was nothing short of cacophonous when twanged by us ignoramuses, but I'm glad to know that Lane felt quite differently: "Under the hands of a skilful player, the kánoon pleases me more than any other Egyptian instrument without an accompaniment". Goodoh!

Many points that Lane describes would have been considered odd or even grotesque by his English contemporaries, but Lane, although sometimes pointing out these features as unusual, is completely unprejudiced, as his biographer recognised, writing that the book "bears the stamp of a character singularly open to the realisation of the genius of a different race from his own". (Biographical notice, 1890 ed.)

Here, in his observations on the wearing of nose rings, we see the typical Lane: not shutting his eyes to the fact that his European contemporaries may judge the phenomenon as grotesque, but nonetheless describing it in a merely factual way:

The "khizám," or nose-ring, commonly called "khuzám," is worn by a few of the women of the lower orders in Cairo, and by many of those in the country towns and villages both of Upper and Lower Egypt. It is most commonly made of brass; is from an inch to an inch and a half in diameter; and has usually three or more coloured glass beads, generally red and blue, attached to it. It is almost always passed through the right ala of the nose; and hangs partly before the mouth; so that the wearer is obliged to hold it up with one hand when she puts anything into her mouth. It is sometimes of gold. This ornament is as ancient as the time of the patriarch Abraham;[1] and is mentioned by Isaiah[2] and by Ezekiel.[3] To those who are unaccustomed to the sight of it, the nose-ring is certainly the reverse of an ornament.
1 See Genesis xxiv. 47, where in our common version, "ear-ring" is improperly put for "nose-ring."
2 Chap. iii. ver. 21.
3 Chap. xvi. ver. 12. Here, again, a mistake is made in our common version, but corrected in the margin.

Don't panic, the text is not spattered with footnotes! He includes them rarely, when he deems them necessary, but the work is itself a primary source. The illustrations, based on his own drawings, are also invaluable witnesses to the lifestyle of the people of Egypt (largely Muslim Arabs, but also Copts and Jews) in the first third of the 19th century.

Studies of ancient Egypt were already in favour and as the century progressed more and more European travellers visited Egypt's great tourist attractions, but Lane takes quite a different approach, seeing the people of modern Egypt in their own right, not merely as periphery to a tour of the ancient sites.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

April: Notable Dates & Books - Drake, Hakluyt, Culloden


The month of April is famous in world history for the sinking of the Titanic, and even more famous in the Antipodes for Anzac Day, April 25. However, so much has been written about these two events that I shan't add my mite.

April also has other notable dates In history, and the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia holds some remarkable books which relate to them, so let's look at a couple of them instead.


On April 4, 1581 Francis Drake was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I for completing his circumnavigation of the world. (He had got back to England in September of the previous year. I always imagine him using part of his rather ill-gotten gains to buy something splendid to wear at Court!) 

The picture is from Wikipedia: Portrait miniature by Nicholas Hilliard, 1581, reverse of "Drake Jewel", inscribed Aetatis suae 42, An(n)o D(omi)ni 1581 ("42 years of his age, 1581 AD")

There are many references to Drake in the RGSSA's accounts of early voyages. These are some of our rarer books:

Drake, Francis, Sir, -1637, and Fletcher, Francis, active 16th century
The world encompassed by Sir Francis Drake. Offered now at last to publique view, both for the honour of the actor, but especially for the stirring up of heroicke spirits, to benefit their countrey, and eternized their names by like noble attempts / Collected out of the notes of Master Francis Fletcher preacher in this imployment, and compared with divers other notes that went in the same voyage. Printed at London for Nicholas Bourne, 1652

This compilation recounting Sir Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the world is the work of his nephew, also a Sir Francis Drake. The first edition was published in 1628.

The RGSSA is lucky enough to hold 2 editions of Richard Hakluyt's Principal navigations. This important work of 16th-century scholarship chronicles the great English journeys of discovery and in particular is a prime source of contemporary information about the 16th-century English voyages.

First Contents Page for Part 3
Hakluyt, Richard, 1552?-1616.
The principall navigations, voiages and discoveries of the English nation, made by sea or over land, : to the most remote and farthest  distant quarters of the earth at any time within the  compasse of these 1500 yeeres: divided into three  severall parts, according to the positions of the  regions whevunto they were directed ... Whereunto is added the last most renowmed English navigation, round about the whole globe of the earth / By Richard Hakluyt. Imprinted at London by George Bishop and Ralph Newberie, Deputies to Christopher Barker, 1589.

The picture below shows the end paper and flyleaf of this 1589 edition. This copy is not included in the catalogue of the York Gate Library, so it is one of the many volumes William Silver acquired after the catalogue was published in 1886. It bears 2 bookplates. One is the small rectangular bookplate of William Silver's York Gate Library. The other is the bookplate of Reginald Cholmondeley, Condover Hall. It is presumably his signature, opposite. This owner would have preceded Silver, though we do not know when.

Our other early edition of the Principal navigations was published a few years later:

Hakluyt, Richard, 1552?-1616.
The principal nauigations, voyages, traffiques and discoueries of the English nation : made by sea or ouerland, to the remote and  farthest distant quarters of the earth, at any time within the compasse of these 1600 yeres, diuided into three seuerall volumes, according to the positions of  the regions, whereunto they were directed / by Richard Hakluyt .... Imprinted at London by George Bishop, Ralph Newberie, and Robert Barker, anno 1599-1600.

Richard Hakluyt, whose name is commemorated in that of the Hakluyt Society, was an Elizabethan scholar and historian. His histories of worldwide navigation and exploration together with supporting documents were the most significant and influential compilations of the period.
Second contents page for Part 3
Hakluyt's great work covers Sir Francis Drake as well as a host of other explorers. They include, in Part 1: Laurence Aldersey, Robert Baker, John Eldred, John Evesham, George Fenner, Robert Gaynsh, Zacheus Hellier, William Huddie, Anthonie Ingram, John Newberie & Ralph Fitche, Thomas Steevens (Stephens), William Towerson, Edward Wilkinson, Thomas Windam; in Part 2: Thomas Alcocke, George Wrenne & Richard Cheiny, Thomas Banister & Geoffrey Ducket, Christopher Burrough, Steven Burrough, William Burrough, Richard Chanceler, Arthur Edwards, John Sparke, Laurence Chapman, Christopher Fawcet & Richard Pingle, Jerom Horsey, Anthony Jenkinson, Richard Johnson, Alexander Kytchin & Arthur Edwardes, Arthur Pet & Charles Jackman, Thomas Southam & John Sparke, Sir Hugh Willoughbie; in Part 3: Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlow (Barlowe), Roger Bodenham, Thomas Candish (Cavendish), John Chilton, John Davis (Northwest Passage), ship "Dominus Vobiscum" & another, Sir Francis Drake, John Drake, Edward Fenton & Luke Ward, Sir Martin Frobisher, Sir Humfrie Gilbert, Sir Richard Greenvile (Grenville), Christopher Hare, Sir John Hawkins, William Hawkins, Master Hore (et. al.), David Ingram, William Michelson & William Mace, John Oxnam, Sir Thomas Pert & Sebastian Cabot (plus an earlier voyage by Cabot), RIchard Pope; Edward Stafford & John White; Robert Tomson; Virginia voyage (Roanoke Colony), leader unnamed, sent by Sir Walter Raleigh; Robert Withrington & Christopher Lister. (Original spelling of names retained, but i, u & v normalised to modern usage.)

Drake's fame continued unabated throughout the following centuries. The edition below is an 18th-century republication of an earlier title:

R. B., 1632?-1725?
The English hero, or, Sir Francis Drake reviv'd : being a full account of the dangerous voyages, admirable adventures, notable discoveries, and magnanimous atchievements of that valiant and renowned commander. I. His voyage in 1572, to Nombre de Dios in the West-Indies, where they saw a pile of bars of silver near 70 foot long, 10 foot broad, and 12 foot high, II. His incompassing the whole world in 1577, which he perform'd in two years and ten months, gaining a vast quantity of gold and silver, III. His voyage into America in 1585, and taking the towns of St. Jago, St. Domingo, Carthagena and St. Augustine, IV. His last voyage into those countries in 1595, with the manner of his death and burial. Recommended to the imitation of all heroick spirits. / Inlarged and reduced into chapters with contents by R.B. Thirteenth ed. [London] : Printed for C. Hitch and J. Hodges, 1739

This 13th edition of The English hero is also held by the U.S. Library of Congress, which holds earlier editions as well. Its records attribute the work to the "R.B." who lived around 1632 to 1725, and according to the Library of Congress was actually the London publisher, printer, and bookseller Nathaniel Crouch. He used his own name in the printing and bookselling trade and wrote books under the pseudonym R.B., or Richard Burton; these were sometimes attributed after his death to Robert Burton, also. The work was first published under this title in 1687 and "is based upon the Sir Francis Drake revived of 1653, with additional material." (H.P. Kraus. Sir Francis Drake; a pictorial biography, 1970, p. 210, no. 45, cited in Library of Congress LCCN 03013281)

Looking for more early works on Sir Francis Drake? See The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.rbc/collrbc.rb000009 This collection of scanned early texts from the Library of Congress includes important primary and secondary materials accumulated about Drake’s voyages throughout the then Spanish territory of the Americas. Texts are variously in English, Latin, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish or French.

And on the same day, April 4:
Tragedy: on that day in 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated;
And triumph: 1983 saw the Space Shuttle Challenger make its maiden voyage into space on 4th April.

April 16: The Battle of Culloden

On April 16, 1746, the Battle of Culloden took place. It was "the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising." The Jacobites under Bonnie Prince Charlie (Prince Charles Edward Stuart) fought loyalist troops commanded by the Duke of Cumberland in the Scottish Highlands. "The Hanoverian victory at Culloden decisively halted the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne; Charles Stuart never mounted any further attempts to challenge Hanoverian power in Great Britain." ("Battle of Culloden". Wikipedia)

The RGSSA holds the following unusual volume by an officer who was with he Bonnie Prince at Culloden:

O’Sullivan, John, 1700-
1745 and after / [compiled] by Alistair Tayler and Henrietta Tayler : London Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., [1938]

The work consists  of a narrative and letters by O'Sullivan. The foreword by H. Tayler tells us: "This most interesting MS., entirely in the handwriting of O'Sullivan (found among the Stuart Papers at Windsor), is bound in a slim volume and lies among the Warrant books, etc., which form part of the Collection brought to England after various vicissitudes following on the death of Cardinal York, the last of the actual Stuart line, in 1807. These Papers were purchased on behalf of the British Government, and the full story of the negotiations and subsequent adventures of this precious deposit will be given elsewhere... It throws a good deal of light on the daily incidents of the Prince's campaign of 1745 and his wanderings, as well as on the last despairing effort of the Jacobite cause, which was finally extinguished by Hawke's victory at Quiberon Bay, 20th November 1759. The MS. is here printed by the gracious permission of His Majesty."

Sir John O'Sullivan was a Colonel in the French military, born in County Kerry, Ireland, in 1700. Intended for the priesthood, he was educated at Paris and Rome. On his father's sudden death he returned to Ireland. The Irish Penal Laws presented him with no choice but to forfeit his parental estate, as he would not renounce his adherence to the Catholic faith. He returned to France and joined the army. In 1739 he assisted Marshal Maillebois in a military action in Corsica that resulted in great suppression of liberty. O'Sullivan's service in Corsica, Italy and the Rhine campaign earned him the reputation as an able captain in guerrilla warfare. This led to his appointment as Adjutant and Quartermaster-General to the exiled Prince Charles Edward Stuart in France, "The Young Pretender" or "Bonnie Prince Charlie."
    In 1745 O'Sullivan accompanied the Prince to Scotland. Considered loyal, and trusted implicitly, he was by Charles' side from the outset of the disastrous voyage from France that left the Prince without ships, men and ammunition. It is said that after the defeat at Culloden, John O'Sullivan was largely responsible for the Prince's escape from Scotland in October 1746. The Bonnie Prince's flight of course became legendary and is commemorated in popular folk songs, including The Skye Boat Song (lyrics 1884). O'Sullivan was knighted by the Prince's father, The Old Pretender, James, in 1747. The date of his death is not known.
    (Source: Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878. Thanks to Sandra Thompson for sourcing this biographical information)

Strange but true: The Culloden connection is the only thing that can explain the continuing Scottish references for April 16 in the cookery calendars over 40-odd years of the early 20th century! 365 foreign dishes: a foreign dish for every day in the year is an American cookbook, published in Philadelphia in 1908 (not held by RGSSA but find it on Project Gutenberg, http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10011). It offers the following for April 16:

Scotch Loaf Cake
Mix 1/2 pound of butter with 1/4 pound of sugar, 1/2 cup of chopped nuts and 1/2 cup of shredded citron; then work in 1 pound of sifted flour with 2 teaspoonfuls of baking-powder. Make a loaf a half inch thick and bake in a moderate oven until done.

Then, circa 1951, in the Calendar of Cakes, published by the South Australian Country Women's Association, we find an Australian recipe for April 16, "Scotch Crispies." (They look like a fancier version of Anzac biscuits to me--nevertheless!) And about the same year, or perhaps 1952, in the South Australian CWA's Calendar of Puddings, we find "Free Kirk Pudding" for April 16. It’s very economical. No eggs. Scots wha hae.

No, the culinary touch isn't an April Fool, but you'll find the much less serious blog on Poissons d'avril posted 1st April, 2012 Australian Central Time, i.e. 31 March 2012 blog-time (don't ask):