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Here Be Dragons

Recent Travel Acquisitions
Here Be Dragons | Recent Travel Acquisitions Shapero Rare Books

To do an injustice to Tennyson, it’s usually at this time that my fancy turns to getting out a new travel catalogue. Looking at this year’s purchases, the balance of them means that I can finally add a third catalogue in the series From the Mediterranean to the Himalayas, for the first time since the 1990’s.

Here Be Dragons | Recent Travel Acquisitions Shapero Rare Books

When the new catalogue is ready – hopefully towards the end of September, I will have a newsletter with selected highlights. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this selection of books too good to ignore but which do not full within the requisite parameters.




Thomas Edward BOWDICH. Mission from Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee. London, 1819.

With spectacular hand-coloured plates including panorama of the yam custom.

Bowdich led the negotiations with the King of Ashantee which resulted in a treaty which brought peace to the British settlements on the Gold Coast. This account of his has been called ‘The most important [work] after Bruce’s, it excited great interest, as an almost incredible story, recalling The Arabian Nights, of a land and people of warlike and barbaric splendour hitherto unknown’ (ODNB).



J. Elliot BINGHAM. Narrative of the expedition to China. London, 1842.

An informed account of the Opium War of 1840 allied with interesting descriptions of Singapore, Macao, and Hong Kong.



Belmore BROWNE. The Conquest of Mount McKinley. New York, 1913.

Belmore Browne (1880-1954) was an accomplished painter, explorer, mountain climber, and great proponent of northern outdoor living and wilderness adventure.



Richard BYRD. Alone. New York, 1938.

Copy ‘T’, one of 26 lettered copies; the rarest issue.

Byrd’s narrative of five-month’s isolation at Advance Base during his second Antarctic expediton in 1934.



Winston CHURCHILL. The River War. London, 1899.

Churchill’s account of his adventures during the war in the Sudan; his second published book and one of the scarcer Churchill titles.

In vivid style the book describes the background to the war, the relationship of the Upper Nile to Egypt, the murder of General Charles George Gordon in the siege at Khartoum, the political reaction in England, and Kitchener's elaborate preparations for the war.



Henry T. ELLIS. Hong Kong to Manilla and the lakes of Luzon. London, 1859.

A scarce account of a convalescence in Manilla by a Royal Navy officer serving in Hong Kong, with attractive lithographs.



Robert LYALL. The Character of the Russians, and a Detailed History of Moscow. London, 1823.

From the Markree Castle Library. A very fresh example of an important work, finely coloured by hand, illustrated after drawings by Lavrov.



Frank OATES. Matabele Land and the Victoria Falls. London, 1881.

The author went to Natal in 1873, and made his way overland to the Zambesi; he was one of the first Europeans to see the Victoria Falls in full flood.



Ambrose RATHBORNE. Camping and tramping in Malaya. London, 1898.

A good account of the Malay States at the end of the nineteenth century by the Australian mining engineer and coffee grower, Ambrose Rathborne.





James ROSS. A voyage of discovery and research. London, 1847.

The account of the first voyage to enter what is known today as the Ross Sea, and the first to sight the Admiralty Mountains.

The nephew of the Arctic explorer Sir John Ross, the author joined the Navy in 1812, and took part in several Arctic voyages under his uncle and Sir William Parry in the ensuing years.  In 1841, Ross discovered the Ross Sea, Victoria Land, and the volcanoes Mount Erebus and Mount Terror, which were named for the expedition's vessels.

SAILOR CHARLEY [pseudonym of Charles Nordhoff, 1830 - 1901]. Life in a whaler; or, Perils and adventures in the tropical seas. London, [1860].

A vivid description of life on a whaler. Nordhoff was an American who saw the advert for crew in New York.



Henry Morton STANLEY. The Congo. London, 1885.

First edition of Stanley’s famous account of his travels in the Congo prompted by a meeting with King Leopold of the Belgians in 1879.

ExLibris Ricardo Caminos (small stamps to dedication leaf). Caminos, who died 1992, was a well-known Egyptologist. His collection of rare books was noted for their generally fine condition

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