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Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, in the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773 - James Bruce of Kinnaird

1790 - Printed by J. Ruthven, Edinburgh - First Edition
A superior set of the first edition, one of the great annals of travel and explorations in Africa, a cornerstone of any collection of Africana. In addition to the three large folding copper-engraved maps, there are fifty-eight copper-engraved plates (four of which are maps or battle plans) and seven pages of Ethiopic language.

A Scotsman with ability and education, James Bruce, 1730-1794, was appointed the English consul to Algiers, serving for two years before resigning to roam North Africa investigating architectural ruins. Following this preparation, he set off to fulfil his great ambition, to discover the source of the Nile. His travels into Abyssinia, a remarkable solo undertaking, resulted in the present body of work which not only includes the narrative of his travels but also comments on the history and religion of Egypt, an account of Indian trade, a history of Abyssinia and other such material.

The DNB notes that while Bruce would not be confused with "a great scholar or a judicious critic..., few books of equal compass are equally entertaining; and few such monuments exist of the energy and enterprise of a single traveller." The many engraved plates are finely executed, and present primarily the flora and fauna encountered by Bruce on his travels.
 
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Price HK$ 50,000



Sick Heart River - John Buchan

1941 - Hodder Stoughton Limited, London - First Edition
A fine first edition of Buchan’s last book, published posthumously.

The review in the April 1941 edition of Punch sums it up nicely:-

‘"
If thou hast a woe, tell it not to the weakling, tell it to thy saddle-bow, and ride singing forth." John Buchan took this Proverb of Alfred as text for his book Sick Heart River (Hodder and Stoughton, 8/3) which is as good a sermon to lift the downhearted as has ever been given in the form of a novel. When Sir Edward Leithen, a former British Attorney-General, received his notice of death from a specialist, "his memory sprawled over places he had seen" and he decided to go to Quebec to make his soul and to "die standing". One journey led to another in quest of a famous French-Canadian who, in a mood of mental sickness, had suddenly left his wife and important office in New York; and was "wanted" by American people because of his genius over international affairs. The tale that follows of two white men, their half-breed guides and some "Hare Indians", their fight with and against Nature in a lonely place is soul-stirring in more than one way and makes as brave a book as the late Governor-General of Canada ever gave us.’

The fictional Sick Heart River is in the real region of the Nahanni River in Canada's Northwest Territories. It is in some of the most rugged terrain in Canada. The area was only just being mapped when Buchan, as Governor-General Lord Tweedsmuir, passed nearby during his voyage down the Mackenzie River in the summer of 1937. Having heard much about the mysterious South Nahanni, Buchan was fascinated by it and wanted to go there, but did not make it before he died in February, 1940. [Galbraith, 2001]
 
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Price HK$ 3,500



1914 - Henry Young & Sons, Liverpool - Number 405 of 500 copies, signed by the publishers
Two finely bound volumes printed on thick paper, illustrated with thirty-one plates. Included is an ‘Essay on Robert Burns’ by Sir Walter Raleigh, a ‘Memoir of Lockhart’, the ‘Author’s Preface’ and notes and appendices by William Scott Douglas.

‘Lockhart's ‘
Life of Burns’, his first sustained attempt in biography, was for a century and more the standard account of the poet and his work. If Lockhart is sometimes limited, he is generally sensible he was born just before Burns died, and had access to men who had seen and known the poet his critical approach is often close to that of the literary world to which Burns, for a time, turned a hopeful eye and his succinct sketches of Burns's milieu and of the men in it, are excellent.’ ‘One of the few judicious and eminently readable biographies of Burns.’ - Professor James Kinsley, introduction to the 2006 edition. 
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Price HK$ 4,000



RESERVED - Explorations of the Highlands of the Brazil - Captain Richard F. Burton

1869 - Tinsley Brothers, London - First Edition, First Issue
An exceptionally clean two volume set in the original publisher’s gilt decorated cloth, mostly uncut and unopened, and without library stamps or labels. Both volumes with engraved frontispiece plates, additional engraved title pages and a large folding map of Brazil.

Appointed British consul in Santos in 1865, Burton sailed to Rio de Janeiro. Together with his wife he spent three months touring the Minas Gerais and it’s gold mining district, which is described in volume I. Isabel then returned to Rio with a sprained ankle at which point Burton, true to character, made a 2,000 kilometre descent of the Rio São Francisco by raft, the fantastic and detailed description of which can be found in volume II.

Burton continued his travels in South America whilst Lady Burton sailed back to England, commissioned with with seeing this work ‘
through the press’. In the short and revealing preface she expresses her personal feelings regarding her husband’s views on religion and polygamy, requesting that the ‘fair or gentle reader’ bear in mind that her husband was writing ‘from a high moral pedestal’. 
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Price HK$ 19,000



The Book of the Sword - Sir Richard Francis Burton

1884 - Chatto and Windus, London - First Edition
A magnificent work on edged weapons by Burton, who was a very skilled swordsman, and published an earlier practical work on military exercises for infantry in 1876. Profusely illustrated throughout.

Rarely encountered in such nice condition. This first part of a planned three volume work, ‘
treats of the birth, parentage and early career of the sword. It begins with the very beginning, in pre-historic times and amongst proto-historic peoples; and it ends with the full growth of the Sword at the epoch of the early Roman Empire.’ Despite Lady Burton’s efforts to find someone to complete the next two volumes after Burton’s death, the haphazard collection of notes, partial manuscripts, and the commercial failure of the first volume, were enough to put off any publisher. 
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Price HK$ 15,000



The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - with -Supplemental Nights - Richard F. Burton, Leonard C. Smithers (editor)

1894 - H. S. Nichols & Co., London - The Library Edition
A magnificent twelve volume set of Burton’s outstanding work of translation. ‘As a monument of his Arabic learning and his encyclopaedic knowledge of Eastern life this was his greatest achievement’ [Encyclopaedia Britannica]. The first editions to be published by Nichols and edited by Leonard Smithers, in intricately gilt decorated bindings which present as if they have come fresh from the publisher.

This edition followed on from Lady Burton’s disastrous 1886 abridged six volume edition (without the naughty bits or ‘
Supplemental Nights’) and the original Kamashastra Society of 1885 edition whose facsimile title pages are inserted in their correct places (as Nichols fits the original sixteen volumes into twelve for this set).

‘...But when it was midnight Shahrázád awoke and signalled to her sister Dunyázád who sat up and said, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, recite to us some new story, delightsome and delectable wherewith to while away the waking hours of our latter night." "With joy and goodly gree," answered Shahrázád, "if this pious and auspicious King permit me." "Tell on," quoth the King who chanced to be sleepless and restless and therefore was pleased with the prospect of hearing her story.’ 
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Price HK$ 12,000



Hudibras. With Dr. Grey’s Annotations - Samuel Butler

1819 - Charles & Henry Baldwyn, London - New Edition, Corrected and Enlarged
Three volumes finely bound in early 20th century full tan calf. In addition to Butler’s ‘satirical polemic upon Roundheads, Puritans, Presbyterians and many of the other factions involved in the English Civil War’, this edition includes ‘The Author’s Life’ and an extensive introductory preface, combined with Zachary Grey’s details annotations throughout.

Illustrated with numerous woodcut vignettes and eight plates.
 
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Price HK$ 3,000



The Commentaries of Caesar, Translated into English. To which is prefixed a Discourse Concerning the Roman Art of War - Caius Julius Caesar, William Duncan

1753 - J. & R. Tonson, London - First Edition
The magnificent folio edition of Cæsar's Commentaries, translated and with preliminary matter by William Duncan, with a superb array of 86 copper-engraved plates including six maps, most double-page.

These include the scarce fold-out "Bull" plate (
The Ursus or Buffalo) and The Battle with Elephants. The other plates include numerous finely engraved battle plates, depictions of the various peoples conquered by Cæsar (Picts, Druids, Gauls, Germans, etc.), maps of the regions occupied, etc.

This is thought by many as the finest edition of Caesar's commentaries in English.
 
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Price HK$ 98,000



 
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