First edition thus. Folio. Contemporary half calf over marbled boards, ruled and with titles in gilt to the spine. The first title illustrated with 24 fine hand-coloured aquatint plates, including a double page view of Constantinople, the second with a further 24, as well as 8 additional plates bound in at the rear. Plates water-marked 1809. A wonderfully fine untrimmed copy with deckled edges. The binding square and firm with a little rubbing, minor bumping to the spine ends and corners and a couple of small dents to the fore-edge of the upper board. The contents with creasing to the endpapers and the occasional minor mark to page margins are otherwise in excellent order, clean throughout and free from any previous owners' inscriptions or stamps. The plates remain exceptionally clean and bright.
A superb extra-illustrated edition of Mayer's fine views of the Middle East. Luigi Mayer (1755–1803), the Italian-German watercolourist and draughtsman, who trained under Piranesi, was one of the earliest and most accurate delineators of the Near East prior to David Roberts. During the early nineteenth century, Mayer became well-known for his panoramic landscapes of ancient sites and monuments which simultaneously depicted the contemporary daily social and cultural life of the Ottoman Empire. The bulk of his work was commissioned by his close friend Sir Robert Ainslie (1729/30-1812), a British ambassador to Turkey and noted orientalist. Between 1776 and 1794 the pair travelled extensively together through the region, documenting the historical, the natural, and the cultural. The present volume, comprising two separate works, consists of a selection of 56 views ranging across the Middle East, depicting street scenes and cityscapes, ports and palaces, local fairs and festivals, tombs and aqueducts, and the exteriors and interiors of temples and pyramids. The extra 8 plates, not found in any other edition, consist of: Jerusalem with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; The City of Corinth; The Sepulchre of Rachel; Remains of a Tower of Mount Zion; The Sepulchre of Absalom; Joseph's Hall in the Castle of Cairo; Tomb of Jeremiah; Temple of Solomon. A beautiful copy. [Abbey 369; Atabey 790; Blackmer 1100].
Stock code: 17535
London: R. Bowyer.