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PETHERICK, Mr & Mrs John.

Travels in Central Africa,

and Explorations of the Western Nile Tributaries.

Published: London: Tinsley Brothers, 1869

Stock code: 91138

Price: £3,500

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First edition. John Petherick (1813-82) was a Welsh traveller and trader who travelled extensively in Egypt and Sudan during the 1840s and 1850s; journeys described in Petherick’s previous book Egypt, the Soudan and Central Africa (1861). After two years back in Britain during which Petherick married his wife Katherine (1827-77), the couple returned to Sudan in 1861. Petherick assumed the role of British consul in Khartoum and was entrusted by the Royal Geographic Society to assist J. H. Speke and James Grant on their return trip from their search for the source of the Nile. As part of this mission, the Pethericks travelled up the Nile to the trading station Gondokoro with boats and supplies. However, ‘when Speke became well overdue, the Pethericks headed into the interior on a trading expedition… Upon their return to Gondokoro, they found Speke and Grant in the company of Samuel Baker. Speke never forgave Petherick’s absence, and the consul’s reputation was badly tarnished’ (Czech, p.129). Travels in Central Africa is based on notes, letters, and journal entries, most written by Katherine during the journey. Volume I mainly concerns the Nile journey to Gondokoro; Volume II contains numerous letters as well as details on local flora and fauna that the couple collected during their travels. With the 30 pages long publisher’s catalogue at the end of Volume II.

2 volumes, octavo (216 x 136 mm). Modern half calf, marbled boards, raised bands to spine, titles gilt to red straight-grain morocco labels, floral tooling to compartments gilt. Volume I: 37 engraved illustrations, including frontispiece portrait, 5 plates, and 31 illustrations in text; one lithographic folding map by James Wyld. Volume II: 12 engraved illustrations, including frontispiece, 4 plates, and 7 illustrations in text; one lithographic folding map by James Wyld. Boards gently bowed, very light tanning to prelims and endmatter, mild offsetting from turn-ins to free endpapers. Volume I: one plate partially loose. Volume II: with near contemporary owner signatures of a John Petherick, likely a relative, to half-title and recto of frontispiece, mild foxing to the last three plates, short closed tear to final leaf of publisher’s catalogue. An excellent set.

Bibliography: Czech p. 129: Hess & Coger 1500.

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