Hardcover, London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1890. Second Edition. Octavo, pp. xviii, 455. Selous' signature on a 4”x2” piece of paper laid in. Frontispiece of African Hunting Scene, 7 plates of African Antelopes, 9 full page illustrations of African Hunting Scenes, 2 other full page illustrations, 5 illustrations in the text, 1 fold-out map, index. Bound in publisher's original green cloth with gilt spine titles and three gilt antelope heads on front board. Wear to all board edges, rubbing to spine, small stains to front board, small discoloration to front pastedown, tearing to last two leafs, newer pastedowns and endpapers done by an Australian binder.
Newspaper clipping of a photo of Selous, probably from a London newspaper, laid in. The first and most important book by the most famous of all the African Big Game Hunters. This is one of the most reprinted and most desirable of all African hunting books. The first 4 editions are the most valuable and are bound in green cloth with 3 gilt antelope heads on the front board.
Selous arrived in Africa from London in 1871 at the age of 19 and became a professional elephant hunter. This book is a record of his first 9 years hunting in Africa, in what today is South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. The 7 plates of antelopes were drawn by the artist J Smit from actual specimens in Selous' possession.
The plates form a complete series of antelopes, representing every species that can be found from the Limpopo north to 12 degrees south latitude. The 10 full page illustrations of hunting scenes (including the frontispiece) were drawn by Selous' sister and turned into wood engravings by Edward Whymper, the professional illustrator and mountaineer who was most famous for being the first to ascend the Matterhorn in 1865.
Over the course of his lifetime Selous befriended Theodore Roosevelt and Cecil Rhodes. He was a member of the Boone & Crockett Club, was awarded the Founders Medal by the Royal Geographical Society, and sent 5,000 specimens to the British Museum of Natural History, which honored him with a bust in their main hall. The largest Game Reserve in Africa is named in his honor, Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania. This book has game lists kept during two of Selous' hunting expeditions, copied from his game book that he kept carefully from day to day.
Selous' signature and brief inscription is on a 4” x 2” laid in piece of paper that appears to have been cut out of a different book by a previous owner. Selous wrote “Yours very truly/F. C. Selous” on one side of the paper. On the verso, a previous owner wrote “F. C. Selous/the great African/traveler + 'Nimrod.' ” Nimrod is a Biblical figure, the great-grandson of Noah, who is described in the Bible as “a mighty hunter before the Lord...” The handwriting of this real Selous signature matches the facsimile Selous signature found on the frontispiece of the first edition of a later Selous book we have, Travel and Adventure in South-East Africa. See photos of both signatures in this catalog. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 455 pages; Signed by Author. [Item #77214]