JOSEPH TIEFFENTHALER (1710-1785)
Historische-geographische Beschreibung von Hindustan, edited by Johann Bernoulli. Berlin and Gotha: bey dem Herausgegeber, 1785-1787. 3 volumes, volume II in 2 parts, 4° (256 x 205mm). 67 engraved plates and maps, many folding, the majority after the author, but also including Jacob Rennell's large folding map of Hindustan hand-coloured in outline. Text of volume III in duplicate with variant title-pages. Contemporary German half calf, spines gilt with repeated floral tool and red and black morocco lettering-pieces, red edges (some light rubbing and scuffing of covers to vols.I-II). Provenance: purchased from Lonchamp, Lausanne, May 1929, for frs. S. 150.
THE RARE QUARTO EDITION. Tieffenthaler, a Jesuit missionary who stayed in India after the suppression of the society, is acknowledged as the first accurate western geographer of Hindustan. He sent his Latin manuscripts partly to the Danish scholar, Dr. Kratzenstein, in Copenhagen, and partly to the celebrated French orientalist and geographer, A.H. Anquetil-Duperron. It was after reading a lecture on Tieffenthaler's charts given by Anquetil-Duperron in 1777 that the Swiss astronomer, Johann Bernoulli, came to realise the value of the Jesuit scholar's 'enormous labour' in describing the twenty-two provinces of India, and preparing a large book of maps on the basin of the Ganges. The octavo edition of the work which Bernoulli edited and published appeared in 1785-86 without plates, though with the map of Hindustan by Rennell. The first volume of the quarto edition also appeared in 1785. The remaining volumes were supplementary to it, the edition finally consisting of: I. Tieffenthaler's geographical description of the provinces of Hindustan with a general map and 38 numbered plates and charts; II. Supplementary material by Anquetil du Perron in part one, including his description of the course of the Ganges and Gagra, with detailed maps by Tieffenthaler and a larger map based on them by Anquetil du Perron, and in part two accounts of military campaigns from various sources, and notes to vol. I by Bernoulli and Anquetil du Perron; III. Rennell's maps, with a German translation of the treatise relating to them and other commentaries. AN EXTREMELY FINE COPY. De Backer & Sommervogel 21-23, citing vol. I only; Windisch 14-15. (3)