Artistic skill was an important tool in an explorer’s kit in the days before modern photography. Expeditions to Africa often included an artist to record the landscapes, wildlife, and peoples encountered on the journey.
In 1854 the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in London advised travelers to carry everything from a sextant and compass to drawing materials and paints. The traveler’s goal was to make “imperfectly known countries” better known. Recording their observations through sketches, journals, and maps was an essential part of the journey.
Drawing upon his experiences in Africa, scientist Francis Galton expanded on the RGS’s advice with a wealth of practical tips in his book The Art of Travel (1855). The book proved popular with armchair travelers and seasoned explorers alike. The intrepid British explorer and scholar Sir Richard Francis Burton carried a copy during his own travels in Africa.
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The address of African Exploration Images is http://www.sil.si.edu/exhibitions/ArtofAfricanExploration/travel.cfm