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BRUCE, James (1730--1794)
Travels to discover the source of the Nile, in the years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773. In five volumes. By James Bruce of Kinnaird, ...
Edinburgh printed by J. Ruthven, for G. G. J. and J. Robinson, London, 1790.
5 vols ; 29.3 cm. (4º)
I: [12], lxxxiii, [1], 535, [1] p., [12] pl.
II: [4], viii, 718 p.
III: [4], viii, 759, [1] p., [4] pl.
IV: [4], vii, 695, [1] p., [6] pl.
V: [6], xiv, 230, [12] p., [43] pl., 3 fold. maps

After a brief unsuccessful diplomatic posting in Algiers, Bruce undertook a series of adventurous travels in the Levant and Africa, retracing his friend Robert Wood's steps to Palmyra and Baalbek, exploring the sources of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, and crossing the Sudanese desert. Sixteen years after his return home, he published his Travels in 1790, edited from his notes and journals by William Logan and Benjamin Latrobe; a more accurate second (1804--5) and third (1813) edition were prepared by the orientalist Rev. Alexander Murray. The work was immensely successful although Bruce's veracity was doubted, and it remains one of the great travel narratives of the eighteenth century. All of the maps (engraved by J. Walker) and plates of natural history subjects, artifacts, antiquities, and monuments are based on Bruce's own drawings and those of his companion, the Italian draughtsman, Luigi Balugani. All five volumes have engraved ornaments on the title-pages; vols I and III have a portrait medallion of James Bruce, and vol. II has a portrait medallion of the Abyssinian ruler Ras Michael Sehul of Tigré. Four of the plates in vol. I are made up of "One sheet of Ethiopic language" ('List of Plates'), printed on both sides and folded to form 8 pages. Volume V, the Appendix, has a title-page reading 'Select Specimens of Natural History, Collected in Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, in Egypt, Arabia, Abyssinia, and Nubia'. ESTC t051608.

Copy Notes Imperfect; wanting the half-title in each volume. Bought from E. Lawrence for £4 10s. in 1802. (Archive 7/4/20).

Binding Early C19th diced russia, gilt roll-tooled borders with gilt-tooled palmette corners, gilt-ruled double bands, blind- and gilt-tooled spine panels, paste-brushed edges.

Reference Number 379


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