Description

    Thomas Joseph Pettigrew. A History of Egyptian Mummies, and an Account of the Worship and Embalming of the Sacred Animals by the Egyptians; with Remarks on the Funeral Ceremonies of Different Nations, and Observations on the Mummies of the Canary Islands, of the Ancient Peruvians, Burman Priests, &c. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, et al., 1834.

    First edition, a subscription copy. Quarto. xxi, [1], 264, [1] pages. With half-title and subscription list. Complete with thirteen plates, comprising ten identified as being engraved or etched after George Cruikshank (three of these hand-colored), another unsigned engraved plate with hand-coloring, and two uncolored lithographs.

    Original quarter morocco grained green cloth over brown paper boards, printed paper side title. Ownership inscription dated 1951 on front free endpaper. A few instances of light spotting, primarily marginal. Light offsetting from frontispiece on title page. Spine just slightly faded. Overall a near-fine copy.


    More Information:

    A strikingly clean copy, in original boards, of Pettigrew's most important study. A work that is as significant for its archaeological observations as much as it is for its striking illustrations, History of Egyptian Mummies represents nothing less than the first scientific treatment in English of the funerary practices of the ancient Egyptians and, more importantly, their most recognizable and intriguing physical productions. The accomplished, realistic plates after Cruikshank reveal the artist's careful attention to detail, and illustrate funerary relics, sarcophagi, and mummified Egyptians both wrapped and unwrapped. Surgeon and antiquarian Thomas Joseph Pettigrew (1791-1865), also known as "Mummy" Pettigrew, is probably most famous for those early Victorian private parties in which he unrolled and examined Egyptian mummies for the entertainment of London's well-to-do. Far from being a play-actor or impresario, however, Pettigrew was a serious and thorough archaeologist whose studies into ancient Egyptian funerary practices remained authoritative for nearly one hundred years.

     

    "Modern literature on the subject of mummification is extensive the historic cornerstone of the study in English is Thomas Pettigrew's History of Egyptian mummies, published in 1834. For the time at which it appeared, the work was a monumental undertaking. Based on scholarly research and practical experience, Pettigrew's work was a summation of almost all that was known concerning Egyptian funerary practices. He compiled all the ancient sources and commented on them, as well as discussing many examples of mummified remains investigated by or known to him. The work is illustrated by engraved plates by George Cruikshank (best known for his satirical drawings) that are the product of careful observation. It was not until 1924 that a work of comparable stature appeared" (Peck, Mummies of ancient Egypt, in Cockburn et. al, Mummies, Disease, and Ancient Cultures (Cambridge: 1998); pp. 15-16).



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