Lot 385: Horsbrugh (Charles Bethune) - Expeditionary album of ethnography and ornithology,
October 27, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: including photographic records of 5 expeditions or excursions, comprising c.70 images of indigenous figures, camp sites and big game in Somalia, and en route via Port Said and Aden, with fellow naturalist, Ethelbert Lort-Phillips and his wife, the botanist Louise Jane Forbes Lort-Phillips, in 1899; 54 photographs of local figures, landscapes and ornithological studies in Norway later the same year, with Dr. R. Bowdler-Sharpe; 38 photographs of landscapes, birds and animals in Bechuanaland (Botswana) and South Africa, between 1903 and 1906; 27 photographs, mostly studies of indigenous figures and their highly exotic headdresses in New Guinea, c.1908; c.50 photographs in Cyprus, mostly in the area of Psevda, in 1910; and over 80 additional photographs of overwhelmingly ornithological interest, primarily British birds and eggs, with a small quantity of others, loosely inserted, apparently relating to the earlier expeditions, c.330 photographs, v.s., mostly mounted on stiff card album leaves, many captioned in ink, below, a few with pencil inscriptions visible on verso, in contemporary half-roan album, worn, boards detached, lacking spine, the bookplate of the naturalist's son, Patrick Horsbrugh, on front free endpaper, folio, [1899-c.1920]. *** Provenance: by descent through the Horsbrugh family. The naturalist, Charles Bethune Horsbrugh (1875-1952), was born in India and died in London. Both of the trips to Southern Africa were in the company of Ethelbert Lort-Phillips (1857-1943) and his wife, Louise Jane Forbes Lort-Phillips. He presumably also travelled to Norway with them, as well as with the eminent ornithologist, Richard Bowdler-Sharpe (1847-1909), as Lort-Phillips, described as an early tourist entrepreneur, established Phillipshaugen Lodge in the Øksendal Mountains, in 1899. Horsbrugh had two birds named after him, the southern African variant of the Red-necked falcon ( Falco chicquera horsbrughi ), and the New Guinea Red-backed Buttonquail ( Turnix maculosus horsbrughi ). The latter was cited by Sir William Ingram from their expedition together to Australia and Papua New Guinea, in 1908-1909. It was from this same trip that Horsbrugh brought back the first Birds of Paradise for London Zoo. Horsbrugh then made study of bird migration in Cyprus, around 1910-12, later joined the Alberta Survey of Lakes, in Canada, in 1914, followed by service in the Canadian Infantry from 1915-18. Perhaps because of this experience, Horsbrugh served as a commandant in the Ulster Special Constabulary, the 'B' Specials, from 1920-1936, spanning the Irish War of Independence. (See also lot 278 for another Horsbrugh family album, from which Charles Horsbrugh bequeathed a sketch of the Castle of Mey to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, in 1952).