London. . Eighteen stiff cards, four with two mounted watercolors, fourteen with one watercolor each, for a total of twenty-two illustrations. Average image size approximately 9 x 5 1/2 inches. Large folio portfolio. Three-quarter red morocco, green tie straps. Bookplate of the Easton Neston Library on front pastedown. Moderate edge wear to all cards, some minor chipping. Two of the watercolors detached from the mounts (but present). All watercolors bright and near fine, with autograph descriptions of scenes written in margins. Overall an excellent set of these charming original amateur watercolors. In a cloth case, leather label. Book: Original cloth, very good, in matching case. Item #WRCAM54838
A collection of handsome original watercolors executed from life during a gentlemen's adventure around the world in the yacht, Lancashire Witch. The artwork illustrates places in and around Madagascar, the Seychelle Islands, Burma, Japan, Alaska, the Pribilof Islands, and elsewhere, and are a unique and unpublished record of this voyage.
Francis Francis published a memoir of his round-the-world voyage in a book entitled WAR, WAVES, AND WANDERINGS. A CRUISE IN THE LANCASHIRE WITCH (London, 1881, two volumes bound in one: ,300;,308pp., a copy is included here). Francis's published account of the voyage is unillustrated, however, and so these watercolors are a unique visual record of a lively round-the-world voyage. All of the watercolors are done in Francis Francis' quite impressive amateur hand. Their greatest strength lies in their blending of color between sky and landscape, and in the firsthand details of places and persons that Francis observed.
Departing from Natal, the adventurers visited several points in Madagascar, Johanna, Zanzibar, Formosa, the Seychelles, Singapore, Siam, Japan, San Francisco, and Alaska. The watercolors as listed below are in chronological order, with Francis' titles listed first, and with appropriate references to Francis' text provided in quotations. The tone of the text is playful, and the illustrations are often touched with humor and sport.
1) "A cold douche on board the yacht." "Near the lee scuppers C. is being played upon with the hose instead of having a shower bath below...." p.93.
2) "Mode of travelling in Madagascar." "S. was the first seated, and rousing the sleepy inhabitants of Majunga with a 'Hark for'ard, gone away, gone away, gone away, tally-ally- ally-ally ho!' he and his bearers went off at a rapid trot. We soon followed." p.108.
3) "Duck shooting, Madagascar." "Through the slim trunks we could see the glint of water, and as the view became more extensive, flocks of ducks and teal could be distinguished on the surface and round the shores of the pond. Up they rose in clouds. The main body departed, but for a few minutes single birds continued to circle aimlessly round. We bagged four and a half brace, besides three plover which fell to a single shot." p.110.
4) "Tip asleep." "Tip was asleep. Tip always is asleep if left to himself for five minutes." p.113.
5) "Johanna, one of the Comoro Islands." "Soon after sunrise we caught our first glimpse of Johanna. Already we were well within view, and amply justified were the expectations we had formed with regard to its attractions. Still and picture-like the painted island lay on the sunlit waters, as though under a spell...." p.122.
6) "Hippo shooting on the Wami." "Submerged in water were ten or twelve hippoes in every reach, there just visible above the surface as they gazed curiously at us...With a little care in stalking I wounded a couple of hippoes. The first, after a great deal of splashing and considerable loss of blood, disappeared in deep water; the second, with decent resignation speedily turned up his toes and floated down stream, feebly pawing the surface of the water. I followed him until at length he also sank." p.161.
7) "Seychelle Islands." "A run of six days close-hauled - headwinds varied by calms prevailing throughout the voyage - brought us to the Seychelles, and about noon on a brilliant sunny morning Douglas, with his accustomed skill and care, piloted us through the somewhat intricate entrance to the little reef-bound harbour of Port Victoria." p.199.
8) "Marketplace. Patchbowree. Siam." "The bazaar is simply a long narrow foot road, with open stalls on either side. It was perhaps the - and yet no, bearing in mind the bazaar at Zanzibar, I cannot call this the dirtiest place I ever visited....[It] was crowded with a stream of Klings, Parsees, Malays, tattooed Burmese, handsome Laos, savage Tongzus, Chinamen, and Siamese all more or less naked." pp.260-62.
9) "On the Meinam, Siam." "Early morning on the Meinam is very charming. The delicate rosy tints of the rising sun, reflected on the broad 'mother of waters;' the soft clear skies, pierced by the slender minarets and spires of many temples; the fresh coolness of the morning breeze whispering down the river ripples, as yet unbroken by the rush of traffic; the very stillness, even, are doubly pleasing after the hot restless night and ceaseless hum of insect life." pp.276-77.
10) "On the Mekong, Siam." "Bananas, tall clumps of graceful bamboos with feathery foliage not unlike the willow, stalwart mangoes, stately palms, tree ferns, and the great embossed trunks of many a 'green-robed senator' whose name I knew not, fringed with rich scenery the banks of a river far broader than the Thames." Vol. II, p.3.
11) "Tip asleep on river bank, a lizard ran up his leg, tied his handkerchief round it to prevent it ascending, tied it in instead of out." "During a pause in the conversation, S. who was reclining at ease according to his custom, on the bamboo matting of the floor, suddenly sprang up with a yell and howl. 'Oh! oh! oh! Hi! cut the trousers off me! Cut 'em off, I tell ye! He's up my leg! Oh! the beast!...At length, removing the handkerchief, S–– began gingerly shaking the leg of his trousers, with a face no pencil could ever depict." Vol. II, pp.9-10.
12) "Camp kitchen, camp on the Meinam." "Our camp is pleasantly situated on a high bank, at a point where, for a few hundred yards or so, it is clear of the jungle. Just below us the broad shallow river, sweeping rapidly by, is joined by a lesser stream, and then swerves suddenly to the left. A teak forest lines the bank on one side; on the other there is a thick bamboo jungle, where a colony of black monkeys are constantly engaged in watching us through the delicate lace-like foliage." Vol. II, p.21.
13) "In a teahouse, Japan." "The tea made, they offered it, still shyly, but with charming grace, and - remained. One, seated by the hibachi, played idly with its chopstick fire-irons; the other, standing near her, occupied her pretty fingers with a fan. She was very attractive, this girl. Taller than the average Japanese maidens, and slim, with, as far as her coquettish little costume would allow one to judge, a figure lithe and straight as a reed." Vol. II, p.62.
14) "Japanese dancing girls." "The dancing was an utter failure. It was of a style that would have admitted the exhibition of much quiet elegance and grace in gesture and movement. Unfortunately there was no poetry of motion, no swimming ease, no lightness displayed in the evolutions of our danseuses...As for their management of the fan (which in the hands of an artiste would have lent considerably to the charm of such slow dancing), no ordinary English girl could have wielded it to less advantage...." Vol. II, p.78.
15) "Inland Sea, Japan." "As we advanced the view expanded, until at length, having cleared the gloomy and abrupt hills that form the gates, we passed into the Inland Sea. A grand view - grand if only for its expanse - extended before us. Calm it was and peaceful, grey sky and grey sea alike waking and warming to life with the radiance of the early sun." Vol. II, p.85.
16) "Bay. Alaska." "In the foreground were rocky stones, which had been rugged and wild but for indescribable richness of the heavy mosses that clung around them and, blending their own endless varieties of colour with wondrous softness, knit rock to rock with tones that soothed away all trace of harshness. Further removed were pine-clad hills, from deepest green, waxing purple, and in the far-off distance dim pale blue. Behind them rose range upon range of inland snowy mountains and glittering peaks ice- helmed...." Vol. II, p.198.
17) "In a barabbora, Alaska." "A barabbora, reader, constructed to hold two natives is, as may be supposed, hardly likely to offer spacious accommodations for six Europeans and one native. Moreover, owing to the assistance we had received at Ozinki, our rum and whiskey had given out, and consequently we had not even the opportunity of regarding the situation through that benign lens...." Vol. II, p.226.
18) "Port Muller, Alaska." "The men of the village are all away sea-otter hunting. This unfortunate animal, cursed as it is with the handsomest of furs, knows no moment's peace. It is hunted almost without intermission throughout the year, and dogs, females, and pups are killed indiscriminately. Many assured us that their numbers were not decreasing, but they based this assumption on the fact that the annual number of skins obtained showed no signs of diminution." Vol. II, p.264.
19) "Pryvloff Islands, Behring Sea." "There are few places on the globe where summer does not exhibit some of those welcome features we are accustomed to associate with its presence. The Pryvloff Islands summer seems, however, to have struck entirely off her visiting list." Vol. II, p.289.
Three additional watercolors that are present are not described in the text. The first is of a member of the crew staring over a gunnel of the Lancashire Witch at a moonlit sea. The second is of a crew member, called "the Commodore," though not likely to be the captain of the vessel, relaxing on deck with the crew's pet monkey, Jacko, and pet dog, Joe. The third is of skinning a kwang, a type of Siamese deer.
Altogether, a remarkable selection of artwork from, as is made plain in the narrative, a thoroughly pleasant circumnavigational tour. NUC 0323044 (WAR, WAVES, AND WANDERINGS).