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GRANT, J. Augustus, John Oliver, & others.

Botany of the Speke and Grant Expedition.

An Enumeration of the Plants collected during the Journey of the Late Captain J. H. Speke and Captain (now Lieut-Col.) J. A. Grant from Zanzibar to Egypt. The Determinations and Descriptions by Professor Oliver and Others connected with the Herbarium, Royal Gardens, Kew; with an Introductory Preface, Alphabetical List of Native Names, and Notes by J. Augustus Grant. Forming Vol. XXIX of the Transactions of the Linnean Society of London.

London: Taylor and Francis, 1872[-75] Stock Code: 122070
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Presentation copy to Sir John Kirk

First edition, presentation copy, inscribed by Grant to African explorer Sir John Kirk on a panel from the original wrappers bound to face the title page: "My dear Kirk, I avail myself of the oppty of Sir Bartle Frere to send you Part I of the Botany of the 'Speke & Grant Expedition' and hope that future travellers will will sic find some advantage from it, yours sincerely, J. A. Grant, 7 Park Sq, 17 Mar. 1872".

Kirk (1832-1922), physician and naturalist, was Livingstone's chief assistant on the second Zambesi expedition (1858-63). He collected a considerable number of botanical specimens during the journey, and these laid the foundations for the voluminous, government-sponsored Flora of Tropical Africa (1868-1917). In 1866 he was appointed vice-consul, Zanzibar. Sir Bartle Frere was despatched to the island in 1872 to help him negotiate a treaty for the suppression of the slave trade with Sultan Barghash bin Said, an agreement which established Kirk as the island's de facto ruler.

Grant himself has gone down as a figure "somewhat underrated, perhaps because, although a member of the successful Nile expedition of 1860-63, he did not himself visit the actual source of the river. Yet his scientific approach, his remarkable written and visual records of east Africa, and his later career mark him out as a considerable figure" (ODNB). His researches on the Nile expedition, conducted under difficult conditions, earned him the Royal Geographical Society Gold Medal, and his specimens are handsomely depicted by the lithographs of W. H. Fitch, who was the outstanding botanical artist of his day.

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3 parts in 1 volume, quarto (285 x 215 mm). Contemporary blue-green half morocco, raised bands gilt to spine forming compartments, gilt title direct to second, recent cloth sides, new endpapers and cloth inner hinges, edges sprinkled red.


Folding map coloured in outline, 136 lithographic plates by W. H. Fitch.


Spine, joints and tips slight rubbed, short chip to head of front joint, text-block toned, presentation inscription faintly offset to slightly spotted title page, occasional mild foxing, slightly stronger to plate 1, which has a small hole from the erasure of a pencilled annotation, the image unaffected, plates 125-9 slightly creased at upper outer corner. A very good copy.


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