The First Affordable Edition of Roberts, Finely Bound, and as Clean as One Could Hope for

THE HOLY LAND: SYRIA, IDUMEA, ARABIA, EGYPT, & NUBIA.

(London: Day & Son, 1855-56). 285 x 195 mm. (11 1/8 x 7 3/8"). Six volumes bound in three. Second (First Small Folio) Edition.

Fine 20th century crimson crushed morocco by Zaehnsdorf for Asprey & Co. (stamp-signed on front turn-in), boards with simple gilt-rule border, raised bands, spine compartments ruled in gilt, gilt titling, densely gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. 250 FINE TINTED LITHOGRAPHED PLATES, MOSTLY OF VIEWS OF THE HOLY LAND, by Louis Haghe after Roberts (a few with hand coloring), including engraved titles, two engraved maps, and an engraved portrait of Roberts. Abbey, "Travel" 385, 388, and 272; Blackmer 1432; Tobler, p. 229. Text leaves with faint overall darkening (due to paper quality), isolated small patches of foxing or minor smudges to margin of plates, otherwise AN ESPECIALLY FINE SET, the text entirely clean, smooth, and fresh, the bindings unworn, and THE IMAGES VERY CLEAN, RICH, AND ENTIRELY WITHOUT FOXING.

This is a remarkably clean and bright copy, in a very pleasing binding, of one of the great travel books from the Victorian heyday of the genre. Roberts (1796-1864) started out painting houses and then theatrical scenery, but soon developed a reputation for paintings and lithographs of exotic scenery. His "Holy Land" is one of the most famous English illustrated books of the century. Its success was due in part to its lavishness, but certainly also to "Roberts' great accuracy as a draughtsman, his strong sense of country and place [and] . . . his love of architecture." (Houfe) Abbey says that "Haghe's skillful and delicate lithography, and his faithful interpretation of Roberts's draughtsmanship and dramatic sense, combine in what are undoubtedly remarkable examples of tinted lithographic work. . . . one feels that the colossal subjects and broad vistas were ideally suited to Roberts's talent, trained as he was in theatrical scene-painting." Ours is an especially appealing copy of a work often disfigured with foxing.
(ST13590)