Drawing of a saddled reindeer

Drawing of a saddled reindeer
Accession number: 
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

Drawing in pencil by Arthur Evans of a reindeer, fitted with a saddle and carrying knapsacks, being led by a Saami man.

Artist: Arthur John Evans
Date of drawing: 11 September 1873
Continent: Europe
Geographical area: Northern Europe
Country: Finland
Region/Place: Lapland
Cultural group: European Saami
Format: Drawing (mounted on card)
Size: 74 x 102 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 Reindeer. Near Armonjärvi./ Torneå Lappmark. Finland’ (written on mount in brown ink).

Research notes: It has been established by Philip Grover that this drawing was made by Arthur Evans on 11 September 1873. Evans wrote in his journal of the voyage to Finnish Lapland: ‘Outside were tied two reindeer, & I noticed one feature a white ring round the eye [...] One of these reindeer we secured to help carry our luggage, & the people set to work making a saddle in proper Lapp fashion - it is called svaka, & they made it rapidly out of what looked like an old snow shoe of birch wood [...] the saddle was not good - we couldn’t balance the knapsacks properly & the reindeer kept twisting about & butting at the Lapp who led him, so that the luggage kept falling off his back, & after several trials we had to give him up as a bad job, & send him home by his driver’ (entry dated 11 September 1873): Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Sir Arthur Evans Archive, B/2/1, Box 1, Notebook 2, p.121. 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.