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131901
MECHAM, Clifford Henry.

Sketches and Incidents of the Siege of Lucknow....

From Drawings made during the Siege... with Descriptive Notices by George Coupar, Esq., late Secretary to the Chief Commissioner of Oude.

Availability: In stock

Published: London Day & Son, 1858

Stock Code: 131901

£1,500
OR On display in 100 Fulham Road

Notes

First and sole edition of one of the finest illustrated accounts of the Mutiny, "a book of superb... lithographic views of Lucknow, based on sketches that he made during the famous siege of the Residency in 1857 and the fighting at the Alambagh thereafter" (Fraser p. 166).

Clifford Henry Mecham (1831-1865) joined the Madras infantry as a cadet in 1848, promoted ensign the following year. He "served throughout the defence of the Residency at Lucknow from June to November 1857 with Hodson's Horse, a body of loyal Indian horsemen formed during the rising by Lieutenant William Hodson. Mecham was in the campaign in Oudh in 1858 and appointed adjutant of 2nd Hodson's Horse in August of that year. In October 1858 he was made second in command of the 3rd Regiment of Hodson's Horse and in May the following year appointed their commandant. In April 1863 he was made commandant of the 9th Bengal Cavalry, serving with that unit until September 1864 when he was removed from command. Mecham appears to have been unemployed between September 1864 and September 1865 when he died of hepatitis at Kalka" (National Army Museum, retrieved 29.01.19). At Lucknow he had a remarkable escape when he was blown up by a mine. Mecham was a cultured man, described by his old class and messmate S. H. Jones-Parry as "a nice quiet fellow. He was given to flute-playing, and often sat out in the shade of the plantains discoursing sweet melody" (An Old Soldier's Memories, 1897, p. 21). He was also clearly adept with a pencil.

Mecham was twice captured by the celebrated photographer Felix Beato, once with a group of officers of Hodson's Horse, where he cuts a dash and remains the cynosure despite being dwarfed by his fellow Sikh officers; and in a rather haunting image of a somewhat gaunt figure, apparently taken after the Mutiny. This latter chimes with Jones-Parry's description of him as looking "more like a greyhound than a man; he was as thin as a lath, and his eyes were sunken into his head" (ibid. p. 109).

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Description

Folio (556 x 348 mm). Original dark grey-brown morocco-grain cloth, sides with concentric blind panels and ornamental corner pieces, gilt lettered on front cover, endleaves renewed, new linen inner hinges.

Illustrations

Tinted lithograph title page and 27 views and scenes on 17 plates by E. Walker (6), F. Jones (3), R. M. Bryson (4), J. Needham (3), R. K. Thomas (2) after Mecham, all lithographed by Day and Son; all original guard-leaves present.

Condition

Contemporary ownership inscription at head of title (sadly illegible); later ownership stamp of "J. Hannon C. C Nenagh" (presumably County Tipperary). Binding refurbished, extremities of spine and corners consolidated; title page foxed and with repaired closed-tear, scattered foxing, two other plates with repaired closed-tears into blank margin, one plate a little ragged at fore-edge and with a few short closed-tears, nonetheless a very good copy of a book, when found, is often in less than collectable condition.

Delivery

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