FIRST EDITION. Johann Martin Bernatz (1802-1878) was the official artist to the embassy of Major William Cornwallis Harris (1807-48) to the Kingdom of Shoa in 1841. Its prime mission was to open trade with the region. Harris was a keen hunter and traveller, who between 1838 and 1842 had already published several books on hunting expeditions and animals in South Africa. In 1841, as superintendent of the southern provinces of India, he was sent to open up trade relations with the ancient Kingdom of Shoa. An earlier attempt of Henry Salt had failed. He successfully negotiated a treaty with Sahle Selassie. On his return to England in 1844 he was knighted in 1844 for his services (Abbey).
`This collection of coloured plates comprises the first scenes of Shawa ever produced and are of a high quality. The first volume, `The Lowlands of the Danakil’, contains scenes of Tajurah, a slave caravan from the interior and Oromo dancing. The second volume, `The Highlands of Shoa’, presents us with views of Ankobar, King Sahla Sellase sitting in judgement, an Easter banquet, military manoeuvres and battle scenes, a religious procession, a slave market, male and female costume, etc.” (Pankhurst). He also produced a fine series of lithographs published in his Palestina in 1868. The first two plates are of Aden. A good, clean copy of this monumental work with fine views, from the distinguished library of Bent Juel-Jensen. Provenance: Bent Juel-Jensen, book label (noted bibliophile and collector of Ethiopic manuscripts, books, coins and pectoral crosses). Not in Abbey; Brunet I, 798; Colas 310; Gay 2586; Howgego (2004) H9.