London: Henry Sotheran, 1895. First edition. First trade edition. Folio (15 1/8 x 11 5/8 in; 384 x 296 mm). x, 236 pp.Bound c. 1949 in half crimson morocco over pale red cloth ruled in gilt. Spine with six raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments. Marbled endpaperes, top edge gilt, others uncut. Engravings exhibit light spotting to margins. A very small rub spot to lower board. Otherwise a fine copy. Thirteen uncolored electro-engravings with tissue guards, including frontispiece, twelve full-page black and white plates, 125 black and white text illustrations. Housed in a cloth slipcase.
John Guille Millais (1865-1931) was an English artist, naturalist, gardener and travel writer who specialized in wildlife and flower portraiture. He traveled extensively around the world in the late Victorian period detailing wildlife often for the first time. His was clearly a wanderlust based on a desire to see, record and paint the natural world. To this end he traveled widely in Europe, Africa and North America. A Breath of the Veldt, based upon his trip to South Africa, was his second of seventeen books on his travels and the wildlife of the places he journeyed through. It is quite likely that Millias influenced Rider Haggard's Alan Quarterman novels. Millais was was the friend and biographer of F.C. Selous, the big-game hunter that Haggard based Quartermain upon, and his descriptions of the Veldt, in which Haggard set so much of his fiction, were most certainly read and referenced by Haggard. "Never before, or elsewhere, have the winged and furred creatures of the wild lived in their lithe beauty and fantastic grace as in these delicate drawings" (Mendelssohn). (Item #3679)