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LIGHT, Henry.

Travels in Egypt, Nubia, Holy Land, Mount Libanon [sic], and Cyprus, in the Year 1814.

London : 1818 Stock Code: 140585
£750.00
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Notes

First and sole edition. Sir Henry Light (1783-1870), later governor of British Guiana (1838-48), was a captain with the Royal Artillery stationed at Malta when, in 1814, he "obtained leave to travel in the countries he describes" (preface). Continuing in the third person, Light remarks that "curiosity and amusement were his object: he kept a journal and memorandums of what he saw, and made sketches of the most interesting places However frequently Egypt and Syria have been visited in modern times, yet they must always offer something new to the accurate observer". He visited Alexandria, Rosetta, Cairo, Philae, Saqqara, Damietta, and descended the Nile as far as Aswan, being one of the first Europeans to reach Nubia. The plates, nicely engraved after Light's own drawings, include some of the earliest graphic representations of Nubian temples. He then proceeded to the Holy Land, stopping at Jaffa, Ramla, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, and ascended Mount Tabor. In Lebanon Light comments on the Maronites and Druzes and visits the Druze hermitage at Beit ed-Dine, before returning to Malta from Beirut via Cyprus. In the final chapter he gives translations made by Thomas Young of Hellenistic and Roman inscriptions recorded at Gartaas and Dukkey, Nubia. Young played a key role in the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone.

Prior to Light's expedition only Thomas Legh (Narrative of a Journey in Egypt, 1816) and James Silk Buckingham (Through the Countries of Bashan and Gilead, 1821) had travelled in this region, Buckingham's book being published several years after his tour of 1816-17.

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Description

Quarto (273 x 217 mm). Contemporary calf rebacked in the 19th century and preserving the original label, sides with blind triple fillet border enclosing ornamental and anthemion panels, milled edge roll and turn-ins, Spanish pattern marbled edges and endpapers.

Illustrations

Engraved folding panorama frontispiece of Jerusalem looking from the terrace of the Convent of the Latin Monks, 18 plates engraved by Charles Heath (12), W. Smith (2), James Watts, J. Watt or Thomas Shepherd (2) after Light (17 of views, 1 of a Greek ins

Condition

Engraved armorial bookplate of William Kenrick (1774-1829), of Broome, Betchworth, Surrey, MP for Bletchingley (1806-1814), Master of the King's Household (1810-12), his bookplate a charming rococo anachronism. Binding a little rubbed, some wear to corners, foot of spine with a scattering of wormholes (not penetrating to letterpress), frontispiece slightly misfolded, repaired closed tear to list of plates and leaf P2, margins of plates a little foxed. A very good copy, clean and wide-margined.

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