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COCKBURN, Sir George.

A Voyage to Cadiz and Gibraltar,

up the Mediterranean to Sicily and Malta, in 1810 & 11, including a Description of Sicily and the Lipari Islands, and an Excursion in Portugal.

Published: London: J. Harding, 1815

Stock code: 86754

Price: £1,500

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First edition of this attractively illustrated work on Southern Europe. Cockburn had served as aide-de-camp to General Elliott during the siege of Gibraltar, before a lengthy period travelling Europe studying foreign troop manoeuvres at the behest of the earl of Harington, the colonel of his regiment, the 65th. “In April 1810 Cockburn was appointed to the command of a division in the army of occupation in Sicily, and took charge of Messina, but his period of command was short, and in November, on his promotion to lieutenant-general, he had to resign … Cockburn then travelled in Sicily, and on his return to England published two illustrated volumes called A voyage to Cadiz and Gibraltar … On leaving Sicily, Cockburn settled down at Shanganah Castle, near Bray, co. Wicklow, which he had purchased, and began to devote himself to politics. He was initially a radical reformer and admirer of Cobbett, and erected a column in his grounds in memory of the Reform Bill …” (ODNB). Holly Lodge Library bookplates with ducal coronet of Harriot, Duchess of St. Albans to the front pastedowns – formerly the “darling of the frivolous London stage”; mistress then wife of Thomas Coutts, one of the wealthiest men in Britain; becoming a successful businesswoman in her own right; much lampooned and caricatured, Harriot Beauclerk is one of the most intriguing women of her time.

2 volumes octavo (213 131 mm). Contemporary Russia, book-tickets of Harrison of Bedford Street, Covent Garden, to the front pastedowns, plain spine, green morocco labels, compartments formed by broad gilt rules, and tolled in blind, marbled edges and endpapers. Engraved pictorial title pages with aquatint vignettes, 6 maps and plans, 3 of them folding, one of these with coloured troop dispositions, 23 hand-coloured plates in aquatint after Cockburn’s own sketches, etched vignettes as end-pieces to each volume, leaves of “Directions for placing the Plates”, and “Corrections and Alterations” both present. Boards a little rubbed, and darkened at the edges, skilfully rebacked to style, light browning to the text, some offsetting from and to the plates, but overall a very good copy.

Bibliography: Abbey 197.

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