Publishing Livingstone's books

Title page of Livingstone's 'Missionary travels'

Title page of David Livingstone's 'Missionary travels and researches in South Africa', published by John Murray in 1857.


Creating engraved illustrations from such a mass of sketches, photographs and notes was not an easy task for David Livingstone’s publisher, John Murray III.

Murray received frequently bad-tempered letters from Livingstone complaining about artists and engravers, including one complaining that the 'lion encounter is absolutely abominable'.

In another letter, Livingstone wrote: 'I wish our artist friend had been married to the pig faced lady and the divorce court abolished.'

With patience and diplomacy Murray ensured that Livingstone's books were produced to their mutual satisfaction.

They enjoyed good and profitable sales, especially 'Missionary travels and researches in South Africa'.


Manuscripts of Livingstone books published by Murray, along with correspondence between Murray and Livingstone, featured in the 'Picturing Africa' exhibition, which ran from 14 June to 3 November 2013.



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