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LATROBE, Christian Ignatius.

Journal of a Visit to South Africa, in 1815, and 1816.

With some Accounts of the Missionary Settlements of the United Brethren, near the Cape of Good Hope.

Published: London: L.B. Seeley and R. Ackermann, 1818

Stock code: 87170

Price: £2,500

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First edition. Latrobe was sent out to South Africa in response to the request of Moravian missionaries at Genadendal and Groenekloof for a minister to visit them. “The Governor of the Cape had expressed a wish that a third station should be opened, and in order to choose a site the author travelled through a large part of the country right up to the Fish River. There is a full description of the district of Groenekloof, and of the missionary settlements, about thirty miles north of Cape Town … also an account of the church and village of Caledon” (Mendelssohn). Latrobe’s account – characteristic of the man, “devout, but most companionable, and energetic in mind and body” – is much enhanced by the superbly coloured plates after sketches by the author himself and John Melville, Government Surveyor of the Cape, who accompanied him. Also included is a visit to St. Helena, and “the first description of the fledgling colony” of Ascension Island (Howgego).

Quarto (263 204 mm). Contemporary mid-blue calf, black morocco label to the spine, narrow flattened bands, compartments with gilt saltire formed of lyre tools with a central lozenge containing an octofoil, palmette tools deeply in blind to the interstices, boards elaborately concentrically panelled in gilt and blind, beaded gilt edge-roll, edges and endpapers marbled, gilt laurel wreath and lozenge roll to the turn-ins. Folding engraved map as frontispiece, routes marked in red and blue, 12 hand-coloured aquatint plates, and 4 uncoloured engravings. A little rubbed, and mottled on the boards, upper joint starting from the tail, but holding, second blank almost loose, some off-setting from and to the plates, one of the uncoloured plates rather browned, light browning overall, remains a highly attractive copy.

Bibliography: Abbey 325; Howgego, II, A15, S37; Mendelssohn I, p.866; Prideaux p.240; SABIB, III, p. 59; Tooley 292.

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