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: 140572
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 Kouyunjik 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) Crested bookplate of Henry Noel Waldegrave, 11th earl Waldegrave, to the front pastedowns, Layard met Waldegrave on at least two occasions as recorded in his wife's journals, at the earl of Selborne's 12 August 1891 "There was also staying there Honble & Rev Noel Waldegrave, Sophy's cousin a young parson".
2 volumes, octavo (210 x 135 mm). Contemporary red half morocco, marbled sides, raised bands, titles and decorations to compartments gilt, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers.
Tinted lithographic frontispieces to each and 20 other plates in all, one double folding, one double-page, 5 folding maps and plans, numerous illustrations to the text.
Bookplate of Julia & Amy Dunlop to front pastedowns, London Library blindstamp on title pages and final leaves. Spines slightly sunned, scuff marks and some minor wear to boards, occasional spotting to text blocks; short closed tear to stub of the map of Mesopotamia, portrait of Layard mounted on front flyleaf in Volume I, pen marks to this portrait as well as another flyleaf. A very good set.
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