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Drawings of John Henning Speke

I got this email this morning and I have to admit- this is an interesting item. If you are a collector of travel and exploration items (or you are looking for an amazing gift for a traveler or explorer) – this could be something worth having. Here’s the link on Ebay

gift for explorereExtremely Rare Drawings [likely] from John Hanning Speke’s African Adventures

What’s quite intriguing, is that within the folded up paper [which has lost it’s original folded up shape, no doubt been taken out time and again and looked at over the last 160 years or so, it’s approx 65cm x 47cm, and of the type of paper that an artist would paint or draw on, it’s faded in colour and dirty looking], in which bears Z.B. Zwecker’s pencil signature, [ approx 7cm long] – where these three cards, with transparent paper laid on them, [what we would call ‘tracing paper’], with pencil drawings of what seem connected to John Hanning Speke’s adventures during his discovery of the source of the Nile.

The drawings/illustrations are of the natives and kings they met on their journey throughout parts of Africa, describing the grain sacks or Banana bunch they might be carrying, or the weapons they were holding, or their dress and the items of gold they were wearing are all highlighted, among village scenes in general. It makes sense why the outer covering of these drawings are signed by Zwecker, as it’s quite possible he actual drew these illustrations, as he also worked on many books and illustration that included the adventures of Speke, or they were perhaps drawn by some on the expedition to Africa and who accompanied Speke on the journey .

These “Zwecker” drawings within the collection [and being sold in this listing], are more than likely from the; The Story of Africa, as here’s some extracts; “On the 25th of November, 1861, the ” Palace of King Kumanika ” was reached, and a huge pot of native beer, with some choice tobacco, was sent to the long-expected guests…” – “…thought of Suwarora and Usui hospitality, which it appeared bore an invidious reputation in that part of Central Africa”. – “The “palace” was of the usual type — a collection of huts inside an enclosure…,” – “…which the Arabs had built for the king to transact public business in, and by the neatness of Rumanika’s private hut. This apartment was supported on a number of poles, to which were fastened a large collection of spears, brass-headed with iron handles, and iron-headed with wooden ones, of good workmanship, and a number of ornaments, consisting of brass grapnels and small models of cows, executed in iron by his Arab visitors. The king and his brother and sons were all fine-looking men— not of the Negro type…”

The “Zwecker’s” pencil drawings within the collection listed here for sale, includes almost all the above and more; as here’s what can be understood and reads;

Drawing of Buffalo head and tusks, written; “Young D. – Shot by C. Speke”. [Captain Speke].

Drawing of long antlers with; 7 ½ “ – 27”, – written in between.

Drawing of buffalos head and tusks, – with measurements written; “2’ – 4 ¼ “.

“Ookereema, The Sultan of Ukiney” [?] – Sketch of the king in tribal dress.

Two sketches of village layouts; “The Sultan of Ukirney” [?] and; “M–?— Vill, Ukirney “[?].

“Music Band W’soombwah” –sketch of natives drumming.

Sketches of nine tribesmen heads, – with unreadable text; “Burber , Kirangola, Soldier, W’Kings, taken in Ukirney, “Wasoombwah”. – Three small sketches of native sitting aiming bow and arrow, female head, female standing; “Wasoombwah”. – “Traveller with Calabar of beer…, Women selling Plantain…, Gold…” – pencil line pointing to the gold bangles on the women’s wrist. – “Grain worked and Banana Leaves…”– “Gold…” – pencil line pointing to the gold bangles on the women’s wrist. – “Natives of Usini “ – [Tanzania], – “Women with grain….”.

Link to Ebay

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Vago Damitio

Mr. Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

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