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ATKINSON, Lucy Sherrard.

Recollections of Tartar Steppes and their Inhabitants.

Published: London: John Murray, 1863

Stock code: 109010

Price: £800

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First edition, uncommon. Lucy Atkinson (1817-1893), traveller and writer, accompanied her husband, Thomas Witlam Atkinson, in Siberia, the Kirgiz steppes and eastwards as far as Irkutsk and the Chinese border. Her “vivid account, which is arranged as a series of letters to a friend, shows Lucy Atkinson to have been an indefatigable horsewoman who was held in respect by local people both for her equestrian skills and as a markswoman with pistol and rifle. Her reference to the birth of her son Alatau (named after a nearby mountain and spring), in the absence of a medical attendant, offers a further indication of her unusually independent capabilities. While of intrinsic interest, her book has recently been used to support criticisms of inauthenticity raised against her husband’s second volume by revealing inaccuracies in the chronology and detail. In her descriptions of meetings with survivors of the 1825 Decembrist uprising then scattered through Siberia, including M. I. Murav’ev-Apostol, I. D. Yakushkin, P. I. Falenberg, the Volkonsky and Trubetskoy families, the Borisov brothers, and the Betsuzhevs (which her husband could not include owing to the dedication of his second volume to Tsar Alexander II), Lucy Atkinson’s work is of interest and importance to historians of the period” (ODNB).

Octavo (182 x 115 mm). Contemporary half calf, decorative gilt spine, green morocco label, marbled paper sides, marbled edges. Wood-engraved frontispiece and 4 plates. Ownership inscription on front pastedown of “Miss Williams’s, Wasperton House”, Warwickshire; bookseller’s stamp of Cooke & Son, Warwick, on front free endpaper. Binding lightly rubbed, a touch of foxing in places. An attractive copy.

Bibliography: Cross, In the Lands of the Romanovs, G108.

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