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LAYARD, Austin Henry.

Nineveh and Its Remains:

With an Account of a Visit to the Chaldaean Christians of Kurdistan, and the Yezidis, or Devil-Worshippers; and an Enquiry into the Manners and Arts of the Ancient Assyrians.

London, John Murray, 1849 Stock Code: 133106
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First edition. Layard who "grew up a Romantic, desperate for fame and exotic experiences, and contemptuous of English professional mores", turned his back on steady employ in his uncle's solicitor's office and set of overland to join another uncle in Ceylon. Side-tracked by adventure he set aside his original itinerary and lived for some time in the Bakhtiari Mountains with a tribe resisting the Shah's rule. Whilst returning to Baghdad via Mosul he became convinced that he had discovered the location of Nineveh, persuading Sir Stafford Canning to support his excavations at Nimrud. It was only after his return to England, exhausted and malarial, and the publication of this, his first, book that he realised that Kuyunjik was in fact the correct location, returning there, funded by the British Museum, in 1849. "Apart from the archaeological value of his work in identifying Kuyunjik as the site of Nineveh, and in providing a great mass of materials for scholars to work upon... Layard's are among the best written books of travel in the language" (Britannica). The supralibros is of the arms of George Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st duke of Sutherland (1758-1833) (University of Toronto, British Armorial Bindings, Stamp 9). The duke's grandson, Granville George Leveson-Gower, second earl Granville (1815-91), son of the duke's half-brother, gave Layard his first government position as his under-secretary of foreign affairs in 1851; "The appointment caused considerable surprise, since at that time nearly all Government patronage was given to a closed circle of big families, but it was well received by the Press. The Daily News complimented Granville for his high courage in calling a man of the people to his aid There were many other young men who might have been chosen, and it is a measure of the extraordinary impression Layard had created that he should have been given this important Government post. He owed it to Nineveh" (Waterfield, Layard of Nineveh, pp.228-9). The following year Granville encouraged him to stand - successfully as it turned out - for Aylesbury.

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2 volumes, octavo (216 x 133 mm). Contemporary full Russia, black morocco double lettering-pieces, low flat bands with single gilt rule, gilt French fillet panel to the compartments, double gilt fillet panels with small rosette cornerpieces to the boards, armorial supralibros of the 1st duke of Sutherland to front boards, marbled edges and endpapers, board edges milled in gilt, turn-ins in blind.


Two-tint lithographic frontispiece to each and 20 other plates in all, one double folding, one double-page, 5 folding maps and plans, numerous illustrations to the text.


Some light scuffing of the extremities, one or two small stripped areas, foxing front and back of both volumes affecting the first and last few leaves, occasional browning to the plates, pale toning to the text-block, overall very good.


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