1874 Agnes & Thomas Livingstone

A group portrait showing five people intimately connected with the life and work of the explorer and missionary David Livingstone. The photograph was taken in June 1874 a year after Livingstone’s death, the photo captured at Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire. Livingstone stayed there from September 1864 to April 1865 on his second visit back to Britain, whilst he was writing The Zambezi and Its Tributaries

The figures on the left are Agnes and Tom Livingstone, two of the explorer’s six children. Thomas bearing more than a passing resemblance to his father.

The two Africans standing on the far side of the table are Abdullah Susi and James Chuma, Livingstone’s loyal attendants who travelled with him for many years and brought his body to the coast after his death at Ilala in 1873. Once they had accomplished their mission, the British authorities would have happily forgotten them but they were taken to Zanzibar and then afterwards to Britain through the generosity of Livingstone’s old friend Dr James Young, the Scottish chemist who had made a fortune in the paraffin oil industry.

The man on the right, seated on the ground with an open map on his lap, is the clergyman, missionary and anti-slavery activist Horace Waller, a close associate of David Livingstone’s who edited the explorer’s journals after his death. They were issued in two volumes in 1874, as The Last Journals of David Livingstone in Central Africa, from 1865 until his death. Waller gratefully acknowledge the assistance he received from Susi and Chuma and included portraits of them in his work.

I’ve been passed a great story about Tom Livingstone which I’ll share tomorrow.

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