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DALZEL, Archibald (1740-1811). The History of Dahomy, an inland Kingdom of Africa. London: printed for the author, 1793.

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DALZEL, Archibald (1740-1811). The History of Dahomy, an inland Kingdom of Africa. London: printed for the author, 1793.

4o (295 x 228 mm). Engraved folding map, 6 engraved plates (in two states), additional engraved portrait of the author fitted to size and tipped in at beginning, title within a hand-colored gilt frame (scattered light browning and staining). Contemporary red straight-grained morocco gilt by CHRISTIAN KALTHOEBER, with label on front free endpaper, covers with border of two thin and one thick fillets enclosing a "drawer-handle" roll, cornerpieces containing gilt armorials of the Beckford and Hamilton crests and the family mottos "Through," and "De Dieu Tout," inner panel with spearhead-shaped cornerpieces with pointillé work, spine in seven compartments with double raised bands, lettered in one, the others with repeat decoration in gilt, turn-ins tooled in gilt with "Greek-key" roll, light blue endpapers (some minor staining to sides, minor worming to pastedown). Provenance: William Beckford, Hamilton Palace (binding).

FIRST EDITION. Probably the best single account of Dahomey history in the 18th-century in a beautiful binding by Christian Samuel Kalthoeber, follower of John Baumgarten, "who succeeded him as leader of the numerous German binders working in London in the second half of the eighteenth century" (Nixon, p. 172).

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Rebecca Starr
Rebecca Starr

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