The Hassanoor Journal by “Myself.”.
[Madras: Lawrence Asylum Press, 1865].
Illustrated with 12 mounted albumen photographs, captioned in ink. Text within braided rule borders. [ii], 65 pp. 1 vols. 8vo. UNRECORDED. Full black morocco, spine with gilt rules, boards with gilt roll borders, ornamental cornerpieces, titled in gilt on upper cover, yellow endsheets, with orange ticket, Bound at the Lawrence Asylum Press, within border. Some minor rubbing, occasional foxing. Fine. Gift inscription on first blank, “J. Michael with the kindest regards of J.C.H. July 17th, 1875” UNRECORDED in all the usual references and catalogues. Item #311412
Spectacular, unrecorded privately printed hunting diary recounting a hunting expedition in Kerala, southern India from 27 July to 22 September 1865, “the best shikar trip I have ever had”. The narrator and his companion A.M.D. bagged 43 heads of eleven different types of big game, including tiger, bear, elephant, bison, chettul, and others, with original albumen photographs mounted and captioned in a neat hand.
The unnamed narrator mentions passing hunting parties (one such, Brown, Jones, and Robinson, suggests that he read Trollope when the novel appeared as a serial in the Cornhill); the terrain around Hassanoor Ghaut was familiar to him, for he had planted fruit trees and roses near a camp building; mention is made also of Hamilton, Brooke, and Faulkener hunting the area the previous year. This may be Douglas Hamilton, who in 1892 published a long retrospective ‘Records of Sport in Southern India’.
The narrator buys prepared photographic plates from a departing hunter, who had ordered them from the Patent dry Collodion Co. of Birmingham. The two hunters were accompanied by the dog Scamp, chief among a pack that included Tinker and a plucky three-legged dog Pinko (both killed by a panther), and bearers of cowardly deportment, save for the plucky Rajii (who stood by when the narrator faced bear and elephant). At times the grass was too high for a man to get through easily.
Notably, the hunter describes many photographic incidents, including how the frontispiece “The Tiger’s Siesta” came to be made. One day D. encountered a a tigress atop the head of a young elephant and shot her despite the commotion. The young elephant ran off. The next day, going to photograph the tigress, the narrator was charged by a herd of elephants. He shot an elephant cow and they moved on to photograph the elephant, “taking the tigress with us. The men who carried her threw her body into the elephants arms and it looked so strange, the tigers mouth being curiously drawn up as if she were laughing, that I thought I would try a picture in that position.”.
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