Our shops are open and we are processing online, telephone and email orders as normal

SCAIFE, Alan & Sarah.

Arabian Interlude.

Notes of a Brief Trip in the Interior of Little Known Southern Arabia.

Pittsburgh, PA: Alan M. Scaife, 1951 Stock Code: 117863
Reserve Ask us a question

First and only edition, rare: two copies only traced in libraries (Pittsburgh and Utah). The Scaifes travelled to Yemen in February 1950 at the invitation of maverick archaeologist Wendell Phillips, who was leading "the first American archaeological team to excavate the major ancient cities along the spice routes of South Arabia" (Potts, ed. Araby the Blest: Studies in Arabian Archaeology, p. 91); Phillips's own account of the expedition, Qataban and Sheba, was not published until 1955. They first visited Beihan, the site of ancient Timna', capital of the pre-Islamic kingdom of Qataban, and spent much time in the company of Sharif Husayn al-Habili, the local emir. They also travelled through Ma'rib (believed to be the Sheba of the Old Testament, and alluded to in the Qur'an), Shabwah and the "Manhattan of the Middle East", Shibam, and received audiences with Husayn ibn 'Ali al-Kathiri, Sultan of Seiyun, and Sir Salih ibn Ghali al-Qu'aiti, Sultan of Shihr and Mukalla. Sarah Scaife was an heir to the Mellon fortune. Her husband Alan, though himself from a wealthy industrialist family, was largely excluded from any meaningful involvement in the Mellon family's businesses by Sarah's brother, Richard.

Confused? Read our glossary


Octavo. Wire-stitched in original blue card wrappers, front panel lettered in silver.


Double-page photographic panorama of Shibam, further full-page photograph, "The Sultan's Palace at Seiun", 2 full-page sketch maps.


Spine sunned, extremities lightly bumped. An excellent copy.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book