Description

    With Hand-Colored Plates

    [Thomas Wharton Ramsay]. Costumes on the Western Coast of Africa, by An Officer of the Commissariat. London: C. Lawler, 1833.

    Presumed second edition. Large octavo. Unpaginated (six pages of text, six plates). Hand-colored plates by the author, all behind tissue guards.

    Original purple cloth boards, now mostly faded to brown; gilt lettering to front board. Yellow coated endpapers. Boards quite faded; some mottling to front board. A few short splits to cloth along spine. Both hinges cracked, but binding still holding tight. Very minor spotting to plates, the colors of which are still bright. Bookplate. In generally very good condition.

    The original edition, published in 1830, attributes authorship to "T. W. Ramsay," but this edition was issued anonymously. Thomas Wharton Ramsay was a Deputy Commissary-General in the Commissariat Department of the Army, based in Sierra Leone, and in this slim volume he offers short descriptions of the customs and costumes of various peoples in and around Sierra Leone, with one-page profiles and illustrations of the following: Liberated Africans, A Kroo-Man, Foolahs (two illustrations), African Minstrels, and Joloffs.

    In Ramsay's self-effacing introduction he writes: "...the following work contains nothing more or less than what the title expresses [...], to which are added short explanatory notes, extracted from a Journal kept during his leisure moments for the amusement of his own family and immediate friends.... The Sketches have in themselves no other merit than that they related to a Colony comparatively little known. [...] Sketches [are] roughly drawn with just enough of touch to shew the subject." Quite scarce. From the Professor John Ralph Willis Collection of Rare Africana.


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    February, 2010
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