The Life and Epistles of St. Paul.London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1855 Stock Code: 142745
Inscribed by Duleep SinghInscribed on the first blank of volume I; "To the Revd. G. J. Colinson sic with the best wishes of Duleep Singh, Roehampton June 18 1856". This suitably soberly bound set of an early edition of a handsomely illustrated popular biographical study of the Apostle, perhaps the greatest Christian conversion narrative, may seem an apposite choice for this presentation by the former maharajah of Lahore.
Duleep Singh (1838-93), the last maharajah of the Sikh Empire, had been deposed by the British following defeat in the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-9), and sequestered in Fatehgarh in the North-West Provinces of India, a town famed for its Christian missionary activity. The maharajah converted to Christianity in 1853 "this act, although facilitated by his guardians, was none the less more rapidly accomplished than even they had expected" (ODNB). A year later, in May 1854, he went into exile in England, one of his earliest homes being in Roehampton, where this set was gifted. The recipient of the volumes was the Rev. George John Collinson, a former clerical secretary to the British and Foreign Bible Society, and recently before his meeting with Duleep Singh at his home he had become first vicar to the nearby new parish of St. James, Clapham.
In later life Duleep Singh was re-initiated into Sikhism, and spent "his last six years in Paris leading a crusade to return himself to the throne of Lahore". His signature is uncommon.
2 volumes quarto (273 x 214 mm). Contemporary diced calf by Hayday, ink stamp at the tail of the front pastedowns, black morocco double lettering-pieces, low bands milled gilt, double gilt ruled frames to compartments, gilt open lozenge centre-tools with scrolled foliate corner-pieces, triple fillet panels in blind to the boards, rosette corner-tools, edges sprinkled brown, board edges and turn-ins milled in blind, drab endpapers,
Steel-engraved vignette title to each, and 24 steel-engraved plates in all, 2 double-page engraved maps, and 10 full-page, double-page plan of Rome, numerous wood-engraving to the text.
A little rubbed, corners bumped, a couple of small scuffs to the boards, pale toning of the text, some offsetting from the plates, but overall an excellent set.
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