Portrait of a Saami man

Portrait of a Saami man
Accession number: 
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

Drawing in pencil by Arthur Evans of a Saami man, captioned ‘Fjell Lapp’, described by Evans as being ‘half nomad’.

Artist: Arthur John Evans
Date of drawing: August to September 1873
Continent: Europe
Geographical area: Northern Europe
Country: Finland
Region/Place: Lapland
Cultural group: European Saami
Format: Drawing (mounted on card)
Size: 78 x 74 mm; 245 x 173 mm (with mount)
Acquisition: Joan Evans. Donated August 1941


Exhibition label: ‘“The people here are evidently very poor in spite of the brilliant dresses”, Evans wrote of those living around Hammastunturi, to the south-west of Lake Inari, in Finnish Lapland. “They were once nomad but have settled down [...] They support themselves here by fishing & we have been trying their dried fish” – a staple food about which he was less than flattering. Drawing by Arthur Evans. August 1873.’ Source: ‘Travels in Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina: An Ethnographic Collection of Sir Arthur Evans’, exhibition curated by Philip Grover, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, 29 April to 1 September 2013.

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 drawing: ‘Fjell Lapp Ketomella’ (written in pencil below drawing). Annotations on mount: ‘Fell Lapp. - half nomad -/ KETOMELLA’ (written on mount in brown ink).

Research notes: 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.