CARRUTHERS, Douglas. Captain Shakespear's Last Journey [contained in] The Geographical Journal. Volume LIX, No. 5 and 6. London, RGS, May and June, 1922.
Two consecutive issues, 8vo. Original printed wrappers, pp. 311-334; 401-418, plates after photographs (including Idn Saud's mobilization for a raid), 3 of which are double sided fold-out panoramas, large colour-printed folding map at the end of the May issue (61 x 97cm); very well preserved.
These two issues contain the fabulous map, the plates, and the complete narrative of Shakespears explorations, as well as a detailed biographical narrative of Captain William Henry Irvine Shakespear, English civil servant and explorer who mapped uncharted areas of northern Arabia and made the first official British contact with Ibn Sa'ud, future king of Saudi Arabia. The report discusses his early life, character (he was a great linguist, mastering Urdu, Pushtu and Persian) his work for the British Foreign Office, vice consulship of India and transfer to Kuwait. From there, he made seven separate expeditions into the Arabian interior, during which he became a close friend of Ibn Sa'ud, then the Emir of The Nejd. In March, 1914, Shakespear began a 1,800 mile journey from Kuwait to Riyadh and from there to Aqaba, via the Nafud Desert, which he mapped and studied in great detail, the first European to do so. In November, 1914, the British government in India asked him to secure Ibn Sa'ud's support for the British-Indian Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, which had just taken Basra. Carruthers retraces these various routes, examining the latter's significant finds (including some inscribed stones discovered at the wells of Hinna and the rined site of Thaj) and devotes several pages to Shakespear's last journey of the title. In January, 1915, at the Battle of Jarrab, Shakespear's friend Ibn Sa'ud asked him to retreat to a place of safety before the fighting began. As an English Gentleman, he naturally declined to do so. He was struck by a bullet and killed. The victorious Rashidis cut off his head. His solar helmet was handed over to the Ottoman authorities and hung on one of the main gates of Medina as proof of the Al Sau'ds' collaboration with the British. It has been suggested by some authorities, notably St. John Philby, that the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire might have been very differently directed if Shakespear had survived, i.e. the British would have supported and armed Ibn Sa'ud rather than Sherif Hussein ibn Ali. Accompanied by wonderful photographs featuring the mobilization of Ibn Saud's camels, a portrait of Shakespear and of Shakespear riding out with the Emir, among others.