Balmoral Castle, Ballater, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
28 Sep 1863
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"Still ascending the river, I persuaded the boatmen, with the help of the usual resource, to push the canoe over rapids. At the next turn we came in sight of one of the finest gorges I ever saw. The mountain seemed to have been split down by a narrow fissure through which the river ran deep and calm, while on each side rose the perpendicular crags, and above the trees nearly met over the chasm. Next morning at Los Banos little stone houses were built with a platform over the water used as vapour baths. The water was nearly at a boiling heat and our men cooked our breakfast in it".
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 312 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.