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SPEKE, John Hanning.

What led to the Discovery of the Source of the Nile.

Published: Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1864

Stock code: 91122

Price: £2,750

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First edition. Undoubtedly the less common of Speke’s two books on his exploration of the African lake regions, containing his accounts of the momentous discovery of Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika. Although it was published the year following his Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, this work documents the first expedition arranged by the Royal Geographical Society, during which his corrosive rift with Burton first developed. Armorial bookplate of the noted geographer and hydrographer Alexander George Findlay the younger to the front pastedown, and with some pencil notations to the margins. Findlay was “active in mapping the discoveries being made in Africa and the quest for the source of the Nile. He was a friend of David Livingstone and made the official maps of the routes taken by Burton and Speke in their journeys in 1858–9” (ODNB). With the publisher’s 32-page catalogue at the end.

Octavo. Original brown cloth, titles to spine gilt, blind panels to the boards, green surface paper endpapers. Frontispiece, folding map of the Somali coast and double-page map of Eastern Africa. Bookseller’s ticket to front pastedown, binder’s ticket to rear pastedown, ownership stamps of T. W. Crawhall-Wilson to half-title and verso of front free endpaper. Spine ends and board edges lightly bumped, corners slightly worn, boards soiled with some minor cockling to cloth, text block gently cracked between half-title and frontispiece but still firm, small chip to folding map stub, light dampstains to publisher’s catalogue. A very good copy.

Bibliography: Czech p. 151; Embacher, p. 274; Howgego IV S54.

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