Cave of Elphantia
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From the Collection
"My sojourn in Bombay was too limited to make an excursion to the hills, I was obliged to content myself with a visit to the cave of the Elephants. The cave is situated in the side of a steep hill. It was much in the style of some of the rock temples of Egypt, and, like them, entirely artificial, the roof being supported by short columns left standing in the course of excavation".
This is a page from a unique leather-bound volume of Robert Elwes’ travelogue 'A Sketcher's Tour Round the World', first published 1854, (see page 384 for corresponding passage).
The book contains the printed text of the manuscript but remarkably, the monochrome wash illustrations are hand painted by Elwes. The book bears a handwritten inscription ‘Mary F Elwes from her affect. husband Robert Elwes Jan 25 1878’, dated after Robert Elwes became ill at Congham, his Norfolk home. On 28th January 1878 , their youngest daughter Violet noted in her diary: “Papa much worse”. Less than three months later, Robert Elwes died on 17th April aged 58.
From the Watercolour World