S&SWM PR papers L2215

32 Prescot Street | Halifax | 2/X/98

General Pitt-Rivers F.R.S.

My dear Sir

The photographs to hand with thanks.

I enjoyed my visit to Rushmore the only drawback being your absence however Mrs Pitt-Rivers was most kind. You have certainly a very good collection of Benin articles & in so far as my memory serves me more representative than that of the British Museum; Read seems to have missed opportunity after opportunity by letting articles go past him

I am sending the carved ivory [sic, missing word sistrum] & coco nut on approval, as it will be more satisfactory for you to see what you are purchasing. I have pointed out to my brother that I think the prices (£8.-.- & £5.-.-) are too high & have suggested to him [insert] that [end insert] £6.-.- & £4.-.- would be reasonable. He is away at present but will be back in the course of 3 or 4 days when I have no doubt he will fall-in with my views.

The Studio will shortly publish a fairly exhaustive paper for me on the toreutic work of Benin & I have also a short paper on personal ornaments from Benin forthcoming in the Bulletin of the Philadelphia Museum. I will send you reprints as soon as I get them.

I enclose a list of Benin articles in your collection of which I would be much obliged if you could let me have photographs.

With Lady Grove I left a reprint of my brother's on the Benin Expedition & also a reprint of Major Lennard's paper on the Bendi expedition. You will no doubt have received them.

Im the Pitt-Rivers Museum at Oxford there is a Tasmanian fire drill; can you tell me whether it was in the Barnard Davis collection & if so whence did he get it? The Tasmanian protector Robinson was after leaving Tasmania, protector of aborigines in Victoria & he has mixed up Tasmanian & Victorian articles. I would be much obliged if you could throw some light on this matter?

Yours very truly
Henry Ling Roth

Photographs of Benin articles

p. 1623 Ivory mask

1624 Staff

1629 ditto ivory

1682 double bladed paddle

1695 head ornament

1697 agate head dress

1711 necklace

1712 box lid (?)

1714 coral wisk [sic]

1718 brass box

1674 Brass powder flask

1717 staff ("line" period)

? wooden panel [drawing]

? armlet perforated, with figures

Roth's brother was Felix Norman Ling Roth (find out more about him in the People section in the right hand menu). Henry Ling Roth had sold several Benin pieces to Pitt-Rivers, listed in the second catalogue. Pitt-Rivers bought the coconut (at the revised prices) see Add.9455vol5_p1747 /1, L2232 confirms that Felix did agree the lower prices for the coconut and also the sistrum Add.9455vol5_p1746 /1

Transcribed by AP for the Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project in July-August 2011

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