Characters, costumes and modes of life in the valley of the Nile.
London, James Madden, 1848
Who was Who in Egyptology (London, 1972) describes Prisse as the 'most mysterious of all the great pioneer figures in Egyptology,' and this early album, published in the same decade that he undertook excavations at Thebes and discovered the Table of the Kings at Karnak, justifies his reputation as 'a fine artist and outstandingly brilliant observer,' equally interested in the costumes of men and women. The Anglo-Indian in Arab dress seen in the frontispiece is the botanist George Lloyd (1815-1843), and the artist's posthumous dedication records that the young man had suggested 'this series of drawings, illustrative of the valley of the Nile,' before his untimely death in a shooting accident. St. John, who was responsible for the letterpress, was also the author of the two-volume Egypt and Mohamed Ali, or Travels in the Valley of the Nile (1834).
First edition, deluxe issue. Folio (57.5 x 44.2 cm), chromolithographic additional title, hand-coloured tinted lithographic frontispiece and 30 hand-coloured plates by Lemoine, Lehnert, Mouilleron, Le Roux and others after Prisse d'Avennes, printed by Lemercier, all mounted on card and loose as issued, titled in pencil below image. Letterpress title, dedication, plate list and 60 pp. of descriptive text by St. John with 35 wood-engraved illustrations, original plain wrappers. Original morocco-backed portfolio with gilt-lettered morocco cover label, rebacked, flaps with morocco renewed, new ties, minor wear to card edges and corners, old waterstain to end leaves, portfolio covers rubbed and a little worn, plates clean and fresh, a very good copy.
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