the search for a lost ottoman civil servant

STANLEY, Henry Morton. Commemorative wall panel, presented to Stanley.



Five original portrait photos by Henry van der Weyde of Regent Street, within hallmarked Sterling silver frames, each with cast and engraved Sterling silver label underneath, two probaly silver-plated medallions within hallmarked Sterling silver frames, a rectangular inscribed silver plaque, a small silver maker's label (Rodrigues of Piccadilly), Queen Victoria's Cypher and crown in silver above crossed British and Turkish flags in sheet silver, all mounted on an ebonized panel with architrave and silver-leaf coated sheet metal columns on either side, many more heavy silver applications, the entire panel measures 102 by 65 cm and weighs over 11 kilos; panel with one vertical crack, two side claddings of the plinth missing, two photos a little foxed; provenance: from Stanley's study at Furze Hill, Pirbright, Surrey.

The inscription on the presentation plaque reads 'Presented by the Advance Column of the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition Mr. & Ms. Henry Morton Stanley on their Marriage July 12th 1890. In Token of their Admiration & affectionate Remembrance of their Leader'. The 'verso' of Stanley's portrait medallion shows an allegoric Figure inscribed 'Congo - Nile - Rwenzori - 1887'. It is a replica of the medal presented to Stanley by the RGS. Apart from Stanley's photographic portrait in the centre of the composition, the others show the surviving European participants in the Emin Pasha expedition. Sergeant R. H. Park, Lieutenant W. G. Parks, Captin R. H. Nelson and A. J. Monteney-Jephson. The intertwining of the British and Turkish flags mark that the search expedition was for a 'lost' Ottoman civil servant, Emin Pasha, actually a German-Jewish by birth, who probably had converted to Islam and as governor of the Upper Nile was cut off from the North by the Mahdist uprising. The relief expedition was one of the last great African explorations, and at the same time introduced the sleeping sickness to Uganda (presumably from the Congo) and the Maxim gun to Africa.

Henry Morton Stanley, of uncertain Welsh parentage went at the age of 18 to New Orleans, where he received the family name that stuck, from his adoptive father, Henry Hope Stanley, a cotton magnate, became a US citizen, fought in the American Civil War, and embarked on a unparalleled carreer as a journalist and explorer.

Provenance: After his marriage to Dorothy ('Dolly') Tennant Stanley decided that the couple must have a country home, and 'plunged into house hunting with something of his old vigor' (Bierman, Dark Safari, p. 350. After considering 57 properties Stanley decided to leave his Sackville Street flat for Furze Hill, a mock Tudor manor some 30 miles outside the capital. He had it modernised and extemsively renovated and electrified. The house was then filled with personal memorabilia, Africana, and portraits of fellow explorers of the 'dark' continent.