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A Voyage Towards the South Pole, Performed in the Years 1822-24. Containing an Examination of the Antarctic Sea, to the seventy-fourth Degree of Latitude: and a Visit to Tierra del Fuego, with a Particular Account of the Inhabitants. To which is added, much Useful Information on the Coasting Navigation of Cape Horn, and the Adjacent Lands, with Charts of Harbours, etc.
London: for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1825 - Octavo (225 x 140 mm). Uncut in original boards, sometime rebacked retaining the original paper spine label. Ownership inscription, "M. A. Wilson, May 1955", and recent book label of American bibliophile and noted polar collector Martin L. Greene to the front pastedown. With the errata slip and the publisher's 16-page catalogue, "sometimes removed by contemporary binders" (Rosove). A few small scuffs to boards, tips rubbed, front inner hinge superficially cracked, but firm, a few leaves faintly dog-eared, very short closed tear to stub of map facing p. 1, plate facing p. 172 offset, second plate of coastal profiles foxed, the contents otherwise with only a few trivial marks. An excellent copy. Hand-coloured aquatint frontispiece, 8 engraved charts of which 6 folding, 6 aquatint plates comprising 4 illustrations of ships and seals after Weddell and 2 folding plates of coastal profiles. First edition. With the ownership inscription of British pilot, African treasure-hunter and Antarctic explorer Frank Bickerton, as "Capt. R. F. C. 1917", to the front pastedown. A stirring provenance: Bickerton was one of the first students to enrol on the new aeronautical engineering programme at the City and Guilds London Institute in 1906, and was recruited shortly after to the Australian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14, becoming the first to deploy a propeller-driven sledge on the Antarctic, and participating in a famous 1,600-mile sledge journey across previously uncharted territory, later receiving the King's Polar Medal in silver and having Cape Bickerton named in his honour. The expedition was "one of the most successful to be undertaken during the whole of the Heroic Age", and its achievements easily surpassed those of Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which Bickerton was set to join before the onset of war, before enlisting instead in the Royal Flying Corps (Haddesley, Born Adventurer: The Life of Frank Bickerton, Antarctic Pioneer, introduction). Over the course of a two-year sealing voyage, Weddell and his crew reached latitude 74°15'', the southernmost then achieved, discovering what is now known as the Weddell Sea, and also visited and described the Cape Verde Islands, South Orkney (which Weddell is credited with having discovered on his 1819-21 voyage), South Shetland, and South Georgia, before wintering in the Falklands and making further landfalls at Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, and Montevideo on the return journey. "Even when sail ships were replaced by steam ships, and wooden hulls by metallic ice-cutters, his explorations were difficult to duplicate" (idem); his narrative is also "recognized as of considerable importance for its account of the voyage and its survey of the South Shetlands" (ODNB). A highly appealing copy of the book considered "the true starting point for an Antarctic collection" (Taurus). Hill 1843; NMM I 1082 for the second edition; Rosove 345.A1; Taurus 4. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2017-09-23           Check availability:      ZVAB    


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