Description

    First Edition of Pococke's Superb Account of His Travels

    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. [a]2, b-d2, B-4I2, 4K1, [pages 254-5 in facsimile inserted; a printer's error put a duplicate of page 250 on 3T1r instead of page 254 and duplicate of page 251 on 3T2r instead of page 255, pencil note to that effect]; a-c2, B-3Y2; ¹2, a2, A-4H2. vi, [8], 310; xi, 268; vii, 308 pages. 178 (of 179) plates and maps; plate 56 and small portion of plate 52 in facsimile. Engraved dedication leaf, (seventeen folding), twelve botanical plates by G. D. Ehret; three engraved title-page vignettes, head-piece, text cut. Contemporary calf, scuffed, rebacked, with titling labels; endpapers renewed, occasional toning and foxing; scattered pencil marginalia, small tear in inner margin of engraved dedication leaf in volume II; embossed stamps of Western Reserve Historical Society on title-pages and engraved plates of volume I, but not volume II; some offsetting from plates, but a very good copy overall. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    More Information:

    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," 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. 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.

    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.

    Pococke, Richard. A Description Of The East, And Some other Countries. London: William Bowyer for the Author, 1743-45. Foilo. 3 vols. in 2. [a]2,b-d2,B-4I2,4K1 [pp 254-5 in facsimile inserted; a printerÕs error put a duplicate of p 250 on 3T1r instead of p254 and duplicate of p251on 3T2r instead of p255, pencil note to that effect] ; a-c2,B-3Y2; ¹2,a2,A-4H2. vi,[8],310; xi,268; vii,308p. Contemp. calf,scuffed, rebacked,with titling labels; endpapers renewed occ. toning and foxing; scattered pencil marginalia,small tear in inner margin of engraved dedication leaf in vol. 2; embossed stamps of Western Reserve Historical Society on t.p.s and engraved plates of volume 1, but not volume 2; some offsetting from plates, but a very good copy overall. 178 (of 179) plates & maps; plate 56 & small portion of plate 52 in facsimile. 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 (1704Ð1765), traveller and Church of Ireland bishop of Ossory, of Elphin, and of Meath.
    ÒPococke's ... most ambitious journey, from 1737 to 1740, was to the Near East, then virtually unknown to western travellers. 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 Ôsuperior learning and dignityÕ (ch. 51, n. 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 travellers, 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 travellers 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.Ó [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. Travel. Palestine. Egypt. Greece. Middle East. Judaica. Voyages.



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    October, 2014
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