Black leather album containing 54 tissue-guarded leaves of watercolor paper, of which 43 have been used. 10 x 12 inches, stamped in gilt on the front "Sketches on the Nile / Alan Hinch / 1938." Leather scuffed, cloth tape reinforcement to inner hinges, all else very good. Alan Hinch was born in England c. 1881, but was living in the United States by 1920, when the federal census documents him working in Miami as pilot of a private yacht owned by socialite James Deering, an executive in International Harvester Company. He apparently embarked on this Nile cruise as companion to his next employer, Richard Flint Howe (1863-1943), another International Harvester executive who had married James Deering's sister, Abby. Passenger manifests show Hinch as traveling in the company of a "Mr. R. Howe," and the census of 1940 lists him as butler on Howe's estate. He was clearly more than a simple servant, however, as this charming and humorous album reveals. The album documents the journey from departure on the Italian Line passenger ship Conte de Savoia on January 15, 1938 to arrival home at Banksia, Howe's custom-built mansion in Aiken, South Carolina, on March 26, 1938. Each page includes an original watercolor (most measuring about 4.5 x 8 inches, but some larger), with a related original doggerel poem. Hinch's paintings are skillful. His poetry is markedly less so, but it is clever, observant, and skillfully captures the traveler's experiences.
On a visit to Asyut, Hinch writes: Assuit the place they said would be warm/ Was 42 degrees at early morn/ If the like keeps on we will have to don /Earlaps, coonskins, as at a football game./ Rode through the quarters where the natives were/ Couldn't say lived, for it looked so bare/ They called out for bakscheesh/ Both old, and young/ They thought we came only to give to them./ Oh, what a place to be born and live./ Then through the bazaar narrow and crowded/ Maybe bargains galore/ But we passed through as quick as we could./ Oddments, and rubbish in hovels so poor./ Then to the tombs too high to climb/ And round the modern town we drove/ Back on board the "Memnon" to dine. A visit to the ancient cemetery at Beni Hasan is described from the perspective of the donkeys who labor under the weight of well-fed tourists. Other subjects include the ocean liners and streamers they traveled in, local people they encountered (a dragoman, a water carrier, a little girl in a red scarf), boats on the Nile, camels and water buffalo, the Pyramids, Sphinx, Panopolis, El-Balyyana, Abydos, Karnak, Kom Ombo, Wadi Haifa, Abu Simbel, and Luxor. There are also several views of the Mediterranean coast and one of Banksia in South Carolina. In all, a charming and lovely representation of the places and time.