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War Sketches in Colour.
London, A. & C. Black, [1903]. 4to. Original cream cloth ornamented in red and blue, lettered in gilt, top edge gilt; pp. xiii, 274, illustrations in the text, 66 plates, mostly in colour with captioned tissue guards; spine a little spotted and with tiny hole; offsetting from endpapers to adjacent leaves, otherwise good. First, de luxe, edition, number 34, of a printrun of 250, signed by the author and artist. It was obvious in 1903 with which war the book dealt with: the Boer War. Stratford Edward St. Leger was born in the Cape in 1867, as the son of the founder of the Cape Times. He participated in the Boer War with the British 1st Mounted Infantry Regiment. 'St. Leger and his unit took part in the cavalry charge at Klip Drift, in the relief of Kimberley, the occupation of Bloemfontein, the battles of Sand River and Doornkop and the march on Pretoria in June 1900. He particularly distinquished himself in the British defeat at Sannah's Post on 31 March 1900, when he rescued a wounded corporal of the Life Guards under heavy enemy fire during the withdrawal. He certainly deserved an award for valour but the author of the Regimental History of the Royal Irish says that the report on the incident reached the War Office too late for an award to be made. The Mounted Infantry had a good many casualties, incurred either in battle or from typhoid fever and other sickness, and by June out of one hundred and thirty-eight officers and men in his company only fifty-five were fully effective and only sixty-three horses out of the original one hundred and fifty-one. Captain St. Leger himself fell sick in Pretoria and was evacuated to a base hospital. As one of his sketches shows ambulances at Wynberg station, it seems probable that he was at the base hospital for officers in Wynberg Camp outside Cape Town. He was invalided to England and did not serve in South Africa again ... St. Leger had learnt drawing and painting at Tonbridge and Bishops. He evidently provided himself adequately with sketching materials throughout the campaign and he was in the habit of carrying sketch-books and notebooks in his haversack at all times. He made rough pencil sketches when opportunity offered and later would work them up into pen or pencil drawings or into water colours. His work had begun appearing in the London magazine Black and White by July 1900, if not earlier, and his one and only book came out in London under the title of War Sketches in Colour in November 1903. Besides a long detailed account of the experiences of the 1st Mounted it contained full-page reproductions of sixty-six of his sketches in water colour and pen and ink, plus ninety-seven line drawings and five section maps. The favourable reviews the book received in several British periodicals encouraged St. Leger to mount an exhibition of his work. This took place at the Bruton Galleries in Mayfair in May and June 1904 and consisted of fifty water colours with fifteen large and a great many smaller pen and ink drawings' (R.R. Langham-Carter in Military History Journal, vol. 5 No 3, June 1981, online). Inman 259.
      [Bookseller: Henry Sotheran Ltd.]
Last Found On: 2017-08-22           Check availability:      Direct From Seller    

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