Drawing of a camp-fire

Drawing of a camp-fire
Accession number: 
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

Drawing in pencil by Arthur Evans of a log fire made at a camp beside the Kitinen river, with a man resting in the foreground, captioned ‘Our Sleeping place on the bank of the Kittinenjoki’.

Artist: Arthur John Evans
Date of drawing: 25 August 1873
Continent: Europe
Geographical area: Northern Europe
Country: Finland
Region/Place: Lapland; Kitinen river [Kittininjoki]; near Kungar
Cultural group: European Finnish
Format: Drawing (mounted on card)
Size: 70 x 109 mm; 173 x 245 mm (with mount)
Acquisition: Joan Evans. Donated August 1941


Primary documentation: ‘[p.588] Dr. JOAN EVANS, from the property of the late SIR ARTHUR EVANS, Youlbury, Boars Hill, Oxford. [List of items follows]’; ‘[p.590] 15 original pencil sketches of types & scenery, chiefly round ENARE, LAPPMARK, FINLAND. Made on journey in 1873. Mounted’: Pitt Rivers Museum accession records (Donations X, 1937–1941), pp.588, 590. Annotations on mount: ‘Our sleeping place on the bank of the Kittinenjoki. Lat. 68 [degrees]/ August 25th 1873. (Kemi Lappmark)’ (written on mount in brown ink).

Research notes: It has been established by Philip Grover that this drawing was made by Arthur Evans on 25 August 1873. Evans wrote in his journal of the voyage to Finnish Lapland: ‘About 9 p.m. we landed to make our first bivouac on a dry height overlooking the river, there being no hut hereabouts [...] We lit our fire gypsy fashion, but the men who encamped in a damper spot nearer the water, made their by first hewing a trunk of pine into two halves, then chipping a flat surface on each so as to pile the two one on top of the other - & in the centre cutting out two hollows to make the upper trunk keep in its place [-] they cut another & having notched it laid it on the top & then through the hollows they thrust lesser faggots transversely, & the trunks when once fairly alight burnt all night - This system of making fires is called Rako Walaki by Finns - it burns 2 days!’ (entry dated 25 August 1873): Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Sir Arthur Evans Archive, B/2/1, Box 1, Notebook 2, pp.12–14. For more information on Arthur Evans’ voyage to Finnish Lapland in 1873, see Joan Evans, Time and Chance: The Story of Arthur Evans and His Forebears (London, 1943), pp.172–176; Ann Brown, Before Knossos...: Arthur Evans’s Travels in the Balkans and Crete (Oxford, 1993), pp.14–16, 90; and Tony Lurcock, No Particular Hurry: British Travellers in Finland, 1830-1917 (London, 2013), pp.123–134, 250.