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

PURCHAS, Samuel.

Purchas his Pilgrimes.

In five bookes… [Together with:] Purchas his Pilgrimage.

London: William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, 1625-6 Stock Code: 146860
Reserve Ask us a question

The largest book ever seen through the English press at the time, a collection of travels that remains an indispensable resource

First edition of Purchas his Pilgrimes, with the preferred fourth edition of the Pilgrimage; together this is the desired state of the complete set of Purchas's important collection of travel and exploration narratives from ancient times up to and including the recent accounts of Virginia by John Smith.

The Pilgrimes was conceived as a continuation of Hakluyt, based in part on Hakluyt's remaining manuscripts, which Purchas had acquired about 1620, augmented by almost 20 years' collecting oral and written accounts of travels in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The four-volume folio took more than three years to print; at the time of its publication it was the largest book ever seen through the English press. "Unlike Hakluyt, Purchas attempted to construct an argument upon geographical and historical evidence that was cosmopolitan, pan-European, global, and transhistorical... John Locke even-handedly advised in 1703 that for 'books of travel the collections made by our countrymen, Hakluyt and Purchas, are very good'" (ODNB). "Today, Pilgrimes remains an indispensable resource for geographers, anthropologists, and historians alike, providing, among other things, prime sources for the early history of the Jamestown colony, and perhaps the best defence ever composed to justify England's claims to North America" (James William Kelly in Speake ed., Literature of Travel and Exploration, p. 985).

In this set Pilgrimes has the engraved title page (often lacking) dated 1625, the map of Virginia in vol. IV in the 10th state according to Burden, with the whole engraved area present (often trimmed with loss). Pilgrimage, fourth edition, issued concurrently as a supplement, is the usual issue with the first quire reset, the title beginning Purchas (the other setting has Purchase), and the added dedication to King Charles. First published in 1613, the Pilgrimage gives Purchas's account of the various religions encountered throughout the world.

Provenance: (i) the distinguished book collector Colonel Thomas Stanley (1749-1818), whose collection was sold in 1813; (ii) Roxburghe Club member Harry Drury (1778-1841), master at Harrow where he tutored Lord Byron to whom he later became a close friend; with his elegant ink note of the cost of 50.8.0 in the Stanley sale on the first flyleaf and his collation dated 1820; iii) Lancelot Holland (1781?-1859), his sale, S. Leigh Sotheby & John Wilkinson, 1859, without ownership mark but referred to in the note of the next owner; (iv) Henry Hucks Gibbs (1819-1907), 1st Baron Aldenham, with armorial bookplates of Aldenham House, Herts, in every volume, and his ownership inscriptions in pencil, one dated 1860. Gibbs was "a noted bibliophile with a celebrated library" (ODNB). His pencil note on the first flyleaf reads: "Bought through Thomas and William Boone for 60 guineas (the books being first backed with morocco) 13 3/8 by 8 3/8. Holland's sale. See Quaritch's prices for inferior copies."

Confused? Read our glossary


Together 5 volumes (the supplemental Pilgrimage comprising the fifth volume), folio (340 x 212 mm). Eighteenth-century diced russia boards, single gilt rules, rebacked in morocco and relined with spot-marbled endpapers c.1859 in the manner of Francis Bedford, old red sprinkled edges.


Engraved additional title to vol. I (second state, dated 1625; usually absent), 88 engraved maps (7 double-page or folding: the Virginia map in volume IV in Verner's state 7; 81 half-page in the text), numerous illustrations, mostly woodcut, but some engr


Some wear to corners generally and board-edges of vol. III; slightly foxed, mainly in the margins; the map of Virginia trimmed to the plate mark and remargined in the lower margin, the first of the two maps of China slightly trimmed and rehinged, 10 or so text leaves with restored defects in margins or corners not affecting text, a few minor marginal tears not affecting text, the colophon leaf of vol. II mounted, 1 text leaf (2A5) in Pilgrimage shorter at foot and presumably supplied, these minor restorations skilfully done, the text not washed or pressed. Overall, a notably tall set, only sparingly trimmed by the first binder, retaining several uncut deckle edges at foot, very good.


Alden & Landis 625/173; Borba de Moraes II, pp. 692-3; Church 401A; Hill 1403; Sabin 66682-6; STC 20509 & 20508.5; see Coolie Verner, "The First Maps of Virginia, 1590-1673", The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 58, No. 1 (January, 1950).


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