THE ARCHIVE OF RICHARD JOHN CUNINGHAME
A collection of items relating to Richard Cuninghame and his exploration of Africa and British East Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, containing a journal, a quantity of photographs, letters, sketches and manuscript reports, the archive comprising:
i. A Journal kept by Richard John Cuninghame on his Expedition with his friend Douglas McDouall "From Mombassa to Cairo, via, British East Africa Lake Victoria Nyanza Uganda and The Nile, 1901-1902", illustrated with photographs and some diagrams, an appendix detailing their camps, arrival, the terrain, food and water availability, and a brief health report, further printed appendices on "The Okapi", the "Uganda Protectorate Game Regulations","Convention for the Preservation of Wild Animals and Fish in Africa", 3 printed maps: "The Game Reserves of Uganda"; "Map showing the Course of the Bahr el Abyad and the Bahr el Gebel [White Nile]"; folding map, " Central Map of the Nile Valley from Berber to Victoria Nyanza... War Office, 1898", marked with their route from Lake Victoria to Khartoum (in rear pocket), 404 hand written pages, quarter reverse calf, folio
Dick Cuninghame with his friend and travelling companion Douglas McDouall, brother of Helen McDouall later Helen Cuninghame [Wee], had carefully planned their expedition. The main aim being to journey from the equator to Cairo in order that they could collect zoological specimens, hunt for game and make geological, climatic, geographical and meteorological studies
On the 11th December 1901 a German steamer dropped Cuninghame and McDouall in Kilindi, Mombasa, British East Africa. From this starting point they followed their main aim, to journey from the equator to Cairo, their caravan utilising every means of transport available to them. The newly constructed Uganda railway, saved weeks on the first stage of their travel, canoes cut a large corner on Lake Victoria, load-bearing porters humped baggage over the Ugandan bush country where they met the Nile, here they eventually boarded a paddle-steamer to cruise them down the river. Finally a railway carried them over the harsh desert land to Cairo
Cuninghame dutifully wrote up his diary daily until regrettably temporary blindness halfway through their long march prevented him from completing this daily routine. He had by then, however, managed to gather enough material for use at a later date to compose a compelling account of his expedition. The 27th February 1902 entry reads "I had had little sleep before the caravan arrived and on wakening noticed a peculiar gumminess around my right eye... the following day matters became serious and I lost vision in the right eye", the expedition was only half complete and they were on the border of undiscovered elephant country, but they were forced to make a decision. "After spending hundreds of pounds, and marched hundreds of miles, though gameless, badly watered, and pestilential country, and to have just and only just arrived at the commencement of a really good game country, in a land too but imperfectly explored, a combination of circumstances we had eagerly looked forward to for months past. Sitting, however, in the middle of a mountain range and pondering over regrets, in the dark, for by now I had lost the vision in both of my eyes, was of little practical use, so on the abating of the acute pain we decided to endeavour to reach the Nile again." The expedition continued and although without sight Cuninghame still managed to chart Africa, as he skippered a craft up the Nile "we made a chart of the river as far as possible giving all depths... not less than three times every five minutes, and numerous bearings on all curves and hills". Meanwhile McDouall managed to hunt for some fine game and in the latter reaches of the Congo, whilst travelling by gunboat, Cuninghame's eyesight recovering slowly, he managed his first elephant hunt, "from the first to the last this was my only real sport I had on this trip, and in spite of feeling cock-eyed-ness and the need of a clear view generally, I thoroughly enjoyed this elephant hunt, thought personally I cannot claim any great share to the bagging of the animal."
Although he was thwarted by injury this inaugural safari gave Cuninghame considerable experience in managing safaris and established an understanding and proficiency of Swahili the founding knowledge of his future safaris.
ii. Two albums containing approximately 390 photographs depicting Cuninghame's travels in Norway, winter 1894, Egypt, 1895, along with specimens in the British museums, zoos and other views, half calf, g.e., oblong folio
iii. A sketch book containing a "South African Half Tent Wagon [Eastern Province Built]", A detailed drawing of the muscles of a horse "A Few Superficial Muscles Showing Scapula in Humerus in Position", 12 illustrations detailing "The Jaws of Asses" and other animals jaws, cloth, oblong folio
iv. Two Maps: Part of British and German East Africa, slip-case, 1894; Beyer's Turist-OG Kontor-Kart over Norge [Norway], folded and mounted in sections, Edward Stanford
v. Four photographs, depicting the collection of ivory from Carl E. Akeley's 1905-1906 safari, rolled in a tube, 235 x 275mm., together with hand written notes on the weights and dimensions of the tusks. Akeley was an American taxidermist, collecting specimens for the Field Columbian Museum in Chicago. Cuninghame was employed by Akeley in 1906 to lead himself and his wife, Delia, in search of elephants on Mount Kenya (see lot 282)
vi. Numerous loose photographs: 43 depicting safari in Kenya: fording rivers, Maasai warriors, being welcomed into villages by tribesmen and game trophies, 120 x 170mm.; approximately 40 photographs of views of a safari in Rhodesia, its people and countryside, 90 x 120mm.; together with approximately 300 further views of agriculture in Rhodesia (in about 1905 Cuninghame managed a farm of some 3,000 acres near the Rhodesian border), 120 x 160mm.; together with approximately 20 prints, rolled, 280 x 380mm., and 7 further larger photographs, 490 x 5610mm. and smaller
vii. A packet of 17 photographs showing views of Robert Lyons Scott's collection of trophies at 'Balculutha' Greenock, 140 x 185mm., along with a portrait of Scott and a postcard, signed by him, sent from Kartoum, 1922 (Cuninghame lead Scott on two safaris, the first in 1911-1912. He was a wealthy gentleman and had substantial collections of zoological specimens as well as arms and armour)
viii. Two signed and inscribed portrait photographs, the first of Wilhelm Prince of Sweden, inscribed "R.J.C. in thankful remembrance of a most delightful two months safari January-March 1914"; the second was of Count Gustaf Lewenhaupt, a close friend of Wilhelm, inscribed "R.J. Cunninghame [sic], With best thanks for all, troubles for my part, in B.E.A., your friend..., 1914"
ix. Two photographs of Stewart Edward White's trophy room in California, 190 x 245mm., contained in an envelope addressed to "R.J. Cuninghame, c/o Newland Tarltont & Co., Nairobi," postmarked Kensington, 1913. Cuninghame first met White when travelling via the Red Sea to Mombassa and accompanying the Swedish Expedition in 1911, he went on to guide White and his wife on two long safaris (see lot 289)
x. 18 letters, including 5 letters from Cuninghame to 'Wee' explaining of his adventures: May 24th 1907 "The cow elephant episode was quick work... for B-P was what the Yank's called 'just a bit rattled'. The BP that I had charge of was Frank Baden-Powell... he got his photo I believe and that is the main thing. I have got a good many really good negatives but not so many of the American Expedition as I had far too much on hand... and the magnitude of proceedings was a bit beyond the 7x5 Kodak I have with me" he went on to say "I shot an old crocodile from a dug-out canoe one day and he turned up with his legs in the air as if stone dead, I caught hold of one leg and tied a rope around it when suddenly he came to life again and I started playing him like a Salmon. We nearly capsized a few times but I got him in the end and have a nice photo of him, he was just over 15 feet long." A letter addressed to Mr Rowland Ward, taxidermist, on behalf of Cuninghame from Marlbrough House, dated 16th March 1910 "The Prince of Wales... His Royal Highness is delighted to hear that you have secured such an excellent man [Cuninghame] to go with him to South Africa." (this safari was planned for 1910 but was cancelled due to the death of King Edward VII on 6th May); together with the telegram sent to Cuninghame, c/o Khartoum, to confirm this appointment. A copy letter from Cuninghame to Mr Lyell, 5th Dec. 1924, in which he makes mention of having never written a book of his escapades, "As regards the writing of a book I am credibly informed by 'Holy Writ' that of the writing of books there is no end and seeing I have never made a beginning I consider I have reached my end"; along with letters from Cuninghame, are others addressed to Mrs Cuninghame, 3 from Mr Lyell in 1933 (see lot 291)
xi. Handwritten transcripts of Talks and Reports written by Cuninghame: "The Story of the Elephant", lecture to the Mossdale inhabitants, Feb 1921", 34 pages, another similar; "The Fishing Industry of the North West of Scotland", 24 pages, 1902; Typed transcripts of "Report on the Fossil Beds situated near Karungu - Lake Victoria... October 1911", 9 pages
xii. Approximately 50 family portraits, including Major Richard Cuninghame in military uniform, in his safari kit and at home at Hensol, further military views and from various travels; the obituary printed in the 'Galloway Gazette, Saturday, May 30, 1925'; An envelope of newspaper and magazine cuttings about Africa and hunting there and a transcript of an account by E. W. Hickes "Notes on the Unknown Beast Seen on the Maadi Railway," 1913
xiii. The Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society, 4 parts, publisher's paper covers, 8vo, Longmans, 1912-1916 (Cuninghame was a founder member of the society with Governor Sir James Hayes Sadler in 1909)Reptiles, Batrachians and Fishes; Birds collected by the Swedish Zoological Expedition to British East Africa 1911, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHORS, publisher's paper covers, folio, William Wesleya notebook and three articles, written by Cuninghame, on the classification of Sea Fishes of Mombassa and his further research notes and 22 photographs of specimens.
xiv. Five medical bottle cases, 4 of carved box wood with screw lids, one in two part leather, various sizes, 10cm. to 16cm. high,