The Collection

Charged by a Buffalo

Henry Bailey

Charged by a Buffalo


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ArtistHenry Bailey (Active 1879, died 1907)
TitleCharged by a Buffalo
Date1887
MediumOil on panel
Dimensionsheight: 17.50 cm, width: 25.00 cm
InscriptionBL: H. Bailey VERSO: Charged by a Buffalo / 'Touch & go' / H P Bailey 1887. Long Island Stanley Pool
AcquisitionPurchased from Charles J Sawyer, July 1973
LocationUK, London, Government Art Collection
GAC number10738
 

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Henry Bailey illustrated and wrote ‘Travel and Adventures in the Congo Free State...’ (1894) under the ‘nom de plume’ Bula N’Zau, meaning elephant smasher, a title given to him by the locals. Much of the book is dedicated to his hunting excursions. One of the illustrations is engraved after this painting, which shows Bailey trying to avoid the attack of a wounded buffalo. In the publication it is titled ‘Hitting me slightly on my right hip’ and is accompanied by a detailed account of the incident:

‘… I waited until he was within two or three yards, relying on my nerve and straight shooting to drop him in his tracks. In this I failed, the bullet hitting him on his tough thick horn, an inch or so from where I intended. I had just time to jump on one side, and bend myself nearly double as he dashed past, hitting me slightly on my right hip in doing so... My fox-terrier... as he turned to charge the second time, sprung for the enraged beast, fixing him by the neck. Not getting a good hold, he, as the bull swung his head round to butt him, seized him by the nose... [and] was sent flying into the air. I thought that the plucky little fellow’s hour had come; but he landed on the ground without any harm…’

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Henry Bailey

Little is known of explorer and amateur artist Henry Bailey. From 1884 to 1888, he travelled through the Congo Free States. Some of the paintings Bailey made during these travels were reproduced as engravings in his recollection of the trip ‘Travel and Adventures in the Congo Free State and its Big Game Shooting’. He wrote the book under the ‘nom de plume’ or pen name Bula N’Zau, meaning elephant smasher; a title given to him by the locals. A watercolour by Henry Bailey, showing farm labourers tending a field of cabbages, is in the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In 2003, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. purchased a collection of sketches, photographs and a map, relating to his travels through the Congo.