Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Africa on the Spot and from the Distance: David Livingstone's Missionary Travels and Nineteenth-Century Practices of Illustration

List of AuthorsKoivunen Leila

PublisherTaylor & Francis

Publication year2013

JournalScottish Geographical Journal

Number in series3-4

Volume number129

Issue number3-4

Start page194

End page209

Number of pages16





This article examines the production of illustrations for David Livingstone’s Missionary Travels (1857) by concentrating on the assumed connection or closeness of the images to Livingstone. First, it focuses on illustrations that were produced on the basis of sketches made by Livingstone or on objects collected by him. Second, it examines images produced with his assistance and, third, illustrations that were only remotely connected or completely unrelated to Livingstone and the journey told in the book. The article shows how questions of truthfulness and distance were present and intertwined at every stage of the illustration process. Some illustrations were more closely connected to Livingstone than others, but the origin of pictures alone did not guarantee that their special character would remain intact during the inevitable technical process. Due to the multiple stages of the process and the number of persons involved, illustrations tended to diverge from the original sketches and some even underwent drastic change. At the same time, images with only a loose connection to Livingstone were actively sought after in order to embellish the story. The active role adopted by Livingstone in commenting on the various stages of the process significantly blurred the line between reality and fabrication.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 10:11