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Reconnoitring in Abyssinia.
London: Smith, Elder & Co.,, 1870. A Narrative of the Proceedings of the Reconnoitring Party, prior to the Arrival of the Main Body of the Expeditionary Field Force. Octavo. Original red diagonal-ribbed cloth, titles and decoration to spine gilt, decorative black frame to front board enclosing decorative gilt octofoil, similar frame in blind to rear, all edges gilt, yellow surface-paper endpapers. Housed in a custom blue slipcase. Tinted lithographic frontispiece after Rolfe, finished by hand as issued, 9 similar plates, large linen-backed folding lithographic map to rear, 2 wood-engravings to the text. Contemporary prize inscription from Lonsbury College, commercial college in Upper Clapton, to front free endpaper verso. Spine faded, minor rubbing to headcaps and corners, sides very slightly darkened, with a few trivial marks, mild spotting to margins of frontispiece and a few other plates, upper outer corner of pp. 123-6 creased, the text unaffected. An excellent copy. First and only edition, uncommon: nine copies traced in UK libraries, just five other complete copies traced in commerce in the last 50 years, this a remarkably clean and fresh copy from the celebrated travel library of Franklin Brooke-Hitching, with his pencilled initials to the front free endpaper. Wilkins "commanded the Royal Engineers throughout the Abyssinian expedition of 1868, where the difficult terrain required engineering skills of the highest order. He was mentioned in dispatches by Lord Napier of Magdala for his 'invaluable and important services', and was appointed aide-de-camp to the queen, with the rank of colonel in the army" (ODNB). His engaging account is attractively illustrated with lithographed views of Aden and the Eritrean coast on the outward journey, in addition to several Abyssinian scenes.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2017-10-24           Check availability:      Biblio    

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