[AFRICA / EXPLORERS / MANUSCRIPT] Autograph letter signed 'David Livingstone', to an unnamed recipient, discussing references in his book and plates showing 'a lion on a giraffe' in Swedish explorer Karl Johan Andersson's book

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ALS by 'David Livingstone,', four pages on a bifolium. 18x11 cm (open size: 18x22 cm). A legible letter. Two creases, overall a very good paper.

A manuscript letter, sent by Livingstone to an unnamed recipient, discussing references on his own book and the plates showing 'a lion on a giraffe' in Swedish explorer Karl Johan Andersson's book.

"50 Albemarle Street, 27, London 1857. My dear sir, In reference to Mr. [John Henry] Gurney's letters I can only say that I have made no reference to Mr. [Karl John (Karl Johan)] Andersson's work, I certainly had not in mind when writing mine [.] Mr. [John] Murray [III] sent Mr. Wolf['s] artist to me on my arrival in England and him to show his capacity exhibited some of the plates in Andersson's book which I had never seen till then I send to him [.]"

In the continuation of the letter, Livingstone states that he wrote to Andersson, indicating "no one has ever seen a lion on a giraffe". Andersson replied that he never saw it but heard the noise at night and found the giraffe dead the next day. So, Livingstone writes that he drew the scene from his imagination. ("so I imagined this scene I drew it"). He goes on to write that he still does not have Mr. A[ndersson]'s book and that he took a glance at it once or twice.

David Livingstone (1813-1873) was an explorer in Africa, a Scottish physician,
Congregationalist, a pioneer Christian missionary with the London Missionary Society, and one of the most popular British heroes of the late 19th-century Victorian Era. He had a mythic status that operated on a number of interconnected levels: Protestant missionary martyr, working-class "rags-to-riches"; inspirational story, scientific investigator and explorer, imperial reformer, anti-slavery crusader, and advocate of British commercial and colonial expansion. Livingstone's fame as an explorer and his obsession with learning the sources of the Nile River was founded on the belief that if he could solve that age-old mystery, his fame would give him the influence to end the East African Arab-Swahili slave trade. His subsequent exploration of the central African watershed was the culmination of the classic period of European geographical discovery and the colonial penetration of Africa. At the same time, his missionary travels, "disappearance", and eventual death in Africa‍ -and subsequent glorification as a posthumous national hero in 1874- ‌led to the foundation of several major central African Christian missionary initiatives, carried forward in the era of the European "Scramble for Africa".


John Henry Gurney (4 July 1819 - 20 April 1890) was an English banker, amateur ornithologist, and Liberal Party politician of the Gurney family. Gurney published some articles in The Zoologist on the birds of Norfolk. He also commenced a collection of birds of prey. In 1864 he published Part I. of his Descriptive Catalogue of this collection, and in 1872 he edited The Birds of Damara Land (Damaraland, South-West Africa) from the notes of his friend Charles John Andersson. His son, John Henry Gurney Jr., was also an ornithologist, and his great-grandson, Henry Richard Gurney of Heggatt Hall has continued the family tradition. The southern African race of the black-necked grebe, "Podiceps Nigricollis Gurneyi", was named by South African zoologist and author Austin Roberts in 1919 in honor of the father and son.

John Murray III (1808–1892) was a British publisher, a third of the name at the John Murray company founded in London in 1777.

Karl John (Karl Johan) Andersson, (1827-1867), was a Swedish explorer, hunter, and trader as well as an amateur naturalist and ornithologist. He is most famous for the many books he published about his travels, and for being one of the most notable explorers of southern Africa, mostly in present-day Namibia.