we are open for business!

Framed Antique Copperplate Engraving of Two Infamous Travel Writers (1842) by John Kay


Copperplate engraving by John Kay (1742 – 1826) from A Series of Original Portraits and Caricature Etchings published in Edinburgh in 1842 depicting a conversation between infamous travel writers, James Bruce of Kinnaird and Peter Williamson (fascinating and comical story) – $9.99 flat rate shipping within contiguous United States only–details below.

1 in stock

Product Information

Professionally framed, humorous/satirical copperplate engraving by John Kay (1742 – 1826) from A Series of Original Portraits and Caricature Etchings published in Edinburgh in 1842, depicting a conversation between two infamous travel writers, James Bruce of Kinnaird (“the Abyssinian traveler” who searched for and supposedly found the source of the Nile) (1730 – 1794), and Peter Williamson (1730 – 1799), an Edinburgh bookseller, adventurer and tavern-keeper who, kidnapped from Aberdeen at age 8 to be sold as a slave on an American plantation, was later captured by Native Americans, became one of the settlers of the “back parts of Pennsylvania,” published an account of his adventures in America (1796), and compiled the first Edinburgh Directory.

This encounter, which happened only a short time after Mr. Bruce published his travels in 1790—the 3000-page Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in five quarto volumes which, in spite of its instant success, was soon to be discredited when the first British travelers to visit Abyssinia after Bruce seriously doubted the veracity of Bruce’s accounts—is said to have taken place at the Cross of Edinburgh, were the parties represented were seen by Kay in conversation, although he has ingeniously placed them on the hillock alluded to by Mr. Bruce, “from whence proceeded the principal fountain of the Nile.” [Compiled from online sources.]

The dialogue goes like this: [JB] How dare you approach me with your travels.  There is not a single word of them true.  [PW] There you may be right, and although I never dined upon the Lion or eat half a cow and turned the rest to grass, yet my works have been of more use to mankind than yours and there is more truth in one page of my Edinh [Edingburg] Directory than in all your five volume 4°. So when you talk to me don’t imagine yourself at the source of the Nile!


The title reads “Travells Eldest Son in Conversation with a Cherokee Chief.”  Immediately following the image: “J. Kay Del. [drawn] et Scul. [engraved], Published as the Act Directs 1791.”  Written in pencil below: “James Bruce of Kinnaird and Peter Williamson.”

Professionally framed under glass in a silver and greenish-black frame, with marble-edged mat in browns, grays and black, and plate marks with rounded corners visible around the perimeter of the image.  Hanging wire in place; intact dust cover.  See dimensions and condition description below.  

APPROX. DIMENSIONS:   Overall: 14 11/16″ x 11.25″ – Image within mat: 8.75″ x 5.5″

CONDITION: Excellent vintage to antique condition in newer frame; the print has minor random foxing.  Very faint shadows of print on the reverse can be seen above the two figures.  See photos.

SHIPPING: $9.99 flat rate shipping valid only for street addresses within contiguous United States; we cannot deliver to post office boxes.  For shipping to Alaska, Hawaii and elsewhere, please contact us with your location for a custom shipping quote.

A WORD ABOUT VINTAGE: Our inventory consists of vintage or antique items which are more than 20 years old, usually used or pre-owned, unless marked “new old stock.”  As such, there may be signs of wear and age, which we will disclose to the best of our ability.  Nevertheless, we encourage you to carefully read the description and view the photos, especially when purchasing a gift.  All items ship with tracking and insurance, and although we do not accept returns, we will offer a refund in case of breakage or damage during transit, upon receipt of sufficient proof. 

Thank you for visiting AlegriaCollection!

VK Return Policy

Customer has up to 30 days to return a product for any reason such as damaged item, size, or unhappiness with product upon arrival. Read our full return policy.

Read Customer reviews

What they're saying about AlegriaCollection

    No Reviews found

Recently Viewed

Products not found


Where vintage finds, find you.

Welcome to VK!

Sign in to your account below.