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    First Edition of Pococke's Landmark Description of the East

    Richard Pococke. A Description of The East, And Some other Countries. London: William Bowyer for the Author, 1743-1745. First edition. Three folio volumes bound in two. Approximately 15.75 x 10 inches. [a]2, b-d2, B-4I2, 4K1; a-c2, B-3Y2; ¹2, a2, A-4H2. vi, [8], 310; xi, 268; vii, 308 pages. Engraved dedication leaf, 179 plates and maps, including seventeen folding plates, twelve botanical plates by G.D. Ehret. Three engraved title-page vignettes, head-piece, text cuts. Modern black morocco-backed boards over green cloth, dark green gilt morocco lettering labels. Some rubbing to binding. A few light stains, occasional foxing and toning to text, some offsetting from plates, first two title-pages laid-down. 4H4 is strengthened at margins (no text affected). Contemporary owner's signature ("M. Samethe[?] Lee 1761"). Overall, a very good copy.
    Richard Pococke (1704-1765), traveler and Church of Ireland bishop of Ossory, of Elphin, and of Meath. "Pococke's ... most ambitious journey, from 1737 to 1740, was to the Near East, then virtually unknown to western travelers. On 29 September 1737 he reached Alexandria, and went to Rosetta, where he visited Cosmas, the Greek patriarch. In December he left for Upper Egypt and on 9 January 1738 reached Dendereh. He visited Thebes but did not go up the Nile beyond Philae. In the Nile valley he briefly met the Danish artist Frederik Ludvig Norden. Pococke reached Cairo in February 1738. He next visited Jerusalem, and bathed in the Dead Sea to test a statement of Pliny's about the specific gravity of the water. He travelled in northern Palestine, and explored Balbec. He also visited Cyprus, Crete, where he climbed Mount Ida, parts of Asia Minor, and Greece. He made a thorough survey of the coast of the Troad on horseback in 1740 and made a good guess at the location of Troy (Hissarlik)... After leaving Cephalonia, Pococke made an extensive tour of Europe. He landed at Messina in November 1740. He visited Naples and twice climbed Vesuvius. He travelled through Germany and on 19 June 1741 with an armed party explored the Mer de Glace in the valley of Chamonix. The Savoy Alps at this time were neither frequently visited nor safe and it was typical of the indomitable Pococke that he reached the Mer de Glace. As the travelers stood on the ice they drank the health of Admiral Edward Vernon to celebrate his recent victory at Porto Bello in the West Indies. This event (described by P. Martel in An Account of the Glaciers or Ice Alps in Savoy, 1744) together with his ascents of Mount Ida and Vesuvius cemented his reputation as a pioneer of mountaineering... Pococke returned to England in 1742 and his Description of the East appeared in two volumes in 1743 and 1745. The second volume was dedicated to Philip Dormer Stanhope, fourth earl of Chesterfield, then lord lieutenant of Ireland, to whom Pococke was domestic chaplain. The work was acclaimed at the time, and Gibbon in the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire described it as of 'superior learning and dignity' (chapter 51) though he objected that its author too often confounded what he had seen with what he had heard. Pococke did take some license in his observations, perhaps most famously in his depiction of the sphinx which he shows with a nose that had been missing for some hundreds of years by the time of his observation. Nonetheless, the quality and particularly the earliness of his observations and their record in prose, maps, and diagrams make him one of the most important near eastern travelers, ranking with Frederik Ludvig Norden and Carsten Niebuhr, in stimulating an Egyptian revival in European art and architecture, and recording much that has subsequently been lost... Pococke was one of the foremost travelers of his day and, though it has taken some 150 years for all the records of his journeys to be published, his accounts are a valuable and in many cases unique record of the areas he visited." (ODNB).
    ESTC t31684. Blackmer 1323. Tobler 127-8. Rohricht 1396. Hilmy II, 124. Kalfatovic 0140. Weber II, 513. Ebert 17515. Lowndes 1471. Atabey 965. Cobham-Jeffrey 51. Contominas 561. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
    Please visit HA.com/6117 for an extended description of this lot.


    More Information:

    Pococke, Richard. A Description Of The East, And Some other Countries. London: William Bowyer for the Author, 1743-45. Folio. 3 vols. in 2. [a]2, b-d2, B-4I2, 4K1; a-c2, B-3Y2; ¹2, a2, A-4H2. vi, [8], 310; xi, 268; vii, 308p. Modern morocco-backed boards, a few light stains, occ. foxing and toning; some offsetting from plates; first two t.p.s laid-down; 4H4 is strengthened at margins (no text affected); contemp. Owner's signature M. Samethe? Lee 1761. 179 plates & maps. Engraved dedication leaf, (17 folding), 12 botanical plates by G.D. Ehret; 3 engraved t.p. vignettes, head-piece, text cut. First Edition.

    Pococke, Richard (1704-1765), traveler and Church of Ireland bishop of Ossory, of Elphin, and of Meath.

    "Pococke's ... most ambitious journey, from 1737 to 1740, was to the Near East, then virtually unknown to western travelers. On 29 September 1737 he reached Alexandria, and went to Rosetta, where he visited Cosmas, the Greek patriarch. In December he left for Upper Egypt and on 9 January 1738 reached Dendereh. He visited Thebes but did not go up the Nile beyond Philae. In the Nile valley he briefly met the Danish artist Frederik Ludvig Norden. Pococke reached Cairo in February 1738. He next visited Jerusalem, and bathed in the Dead Sea to test a statement of Pliny's about the specific gravity of the water. He travelled in northern Palestine, and explored Balbec. He also visited Cyprus, Crete, where he climbed Mount Ida, parts of Asia Minor, and Greece. He made a thorough survey of the coast of the Troad on horseback in 1740 and made a good guess at the location of Troy (Hissarlik). After leaving Cephalonia, Pococke made an extensive tour of Europe. He landed at Messina in November 1740. He visited Naples and twice climbed Vesuvius. He travelled through Germany and on 19 June 1741 with an armed party explored the Mer de Glace in the valley of Chamonix. The Savoy Alps at this time were neither frequently visited nor safe and it was typical of the indomitable Pococke that he reached the Mer de Glace. As the travellers stood on the ice they drank the health of Admiral Edward Vernon to celebrate his recent victory at Porto Bello in the West Indies. This event (described by P. Martel in An Account of the Glaciers or Ice Alps in Savoy, 1744) together with his ascents of Mount Ida and Vesuvius cemented his reputation as a pioneer of mountaineering. Pococke returned to England in 1742 and his Description of the East appeared in two volumes in 1743 and 1745. The second volume was dedicated to Philip Dormer Stanhope, fourth earl of Chesterfield, then lord lieutenant of Ireland, to whom Pococke was domestic chaplain. The work was acclaimed at the time, and Gibbon in the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire described it as of 'superior learning and dignity' (chapter 51, number 69) though he objected that its author too often confounded what he had seen with what he had heard. Pococke did take some licence in his observations, perhaps most famously in his depiction of the sphinx which he shows with a nose that had been missing for some hundreds of years by the time of his observation. None the less the quality and particularly the earliness of his observations and their record in prose, maps, and diagrams make him one of the most important near eastern travelers, ranking with Frederik Ludvig Norden and Carsten Niebuhr, in stimulating an Egyptian revival in European art and architecture, and recording much that has subsequently been lost... Pococke was one of the foremost travelers of his day and, though it has taken some 150 years for all the records of his journeys to be published, his accounts are a valuable and in many cases unique record of the areas he visited." [ODNB]

    ESTC t31684. Blackmer 1323. Tobler 127-8. Rohricht 1396. Hilmy II, 124. Kalfatovic 0140. Weber II, 513. Ebert 17515. Lowndes 1471. Atabey 965. Cobham-Jeffrey 51. Contominas 561.



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