From 1767 to 1773, James Bruce of Kinnaird explored Ethiopia (Abyssinia), searching for the famed sources of the Nile. One of Bruce’s travel companions was the Italian painter Luigi Balugani, who did the drawings of plants collected by the expedition. Balugani died in Ethiopia. Afterwards, Bruce took credit for most of Balugani’s achievements. This book aims to set the record straight. It contains an introductory chapter on the expedition and its perils, but the bulk of the book is a catalogue of Balugani’s illustrations. Some are shown in colour, most in black-and-white.
The authors’ research reveals the artistic and scientific value of Balugani’s observations on animals and plants within a broad historical context. Balugani now emerges as a major natural history artist of the C18th.