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DIXON, Charles George.

Sketch of Mairwara;

giving a brief account of the origin and habits of the Mairs; their subjugation by a British force; their civilisation, and conversion into an industrious peasantry; with descriptions of various works of irrigation in Mairwara and Ajmeer, constructed to facilitate the operations of agriculture, and guard the districts against drought and famine.

Published: London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1850

Stock code: 110460

Price: £2,500

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First edition of this important record of the extensive irrigation system established in the Ajmer-Merwara region of south western Rajasthan; scarce, “according to the English Catalogue, the work was privately printed, and Smith, Elder may therefore only have published it on Dixon’s behalf” (Abbey). Dixon (d. 1857) was a lieutenant-colonel in the Bengal Artillery and superintendent of Ajmer-Merwara (part of North-Western Provinces) and oversaw the creation of the irrigation system outlined in this book. Marwar lies partly in the Thar Desert. As mentioned on the title page, the British had intervened in 1839 to quell an insurrection. The attractive tinted lithograph views are largely the work of William Gauci, after lieutenants Burgess and Herbert; Gauci, of Maltese extraction, came from a family of distinguished lithographers working in London. The map is by another Bengal Artillery officer, Lieutenant D. C. Vanrenen. A fascinating and remarkably detailed account of British public works in India.

Quarto. Original green cloth neatly rebacked with green morocco, ornamental blind stamping on sides, gilt lettered on the front cover, yellow coated endpapers. 9 tinted lithograph plates (8 of them views), 19 detailed maps and plans of irrigation systems, large folding coloured map of the region printed on linen, 3 wood engravings in the text. Contemporary ownership on front pastedown (dated 1851). Covers patchily faded, some wear to corners, light marginal dampstaining to plates (more noticeable on plate 13), nevertheless a clean, tall copy.

Bibliography: Abbey, Travel, 475.

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