ELPHINSTONE, Mountstuart (1779-1859). An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul, and its dependencies in Persia, Tartary, and India. London: A. Strahan for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown and J. Murray, 1815.
4° (278 x 213 mm). 14 aquatint plates, all but one hand-colored, 2 engraved maps, hand-colored in outline, including one large folding map, plates watermarked 1812. (A few tears along folds of maps, light spotting and soiling.) Contemporary half calf (rebacked, extremities rubbed). Provenance: Elphinstone family, Carberry Tower (armorial bookplate, and library label); Dr. Raj Krishna (sold Christie’s New York, 22 June 2010, lot 235).
FIRST EDITION, THE ELPHINSTONE FAMILY COPY, with fine hand-colored aquatint plates. Elphinstone was appointed ambassador to the Afghan court of Cabul in the middle of 1808. Although unsuccessful as an envoy, he came away "stored with information, and already nursing that germ of frontier policy of which he was afterwards to be the fruitful founder and exponent;" An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul "continued to inform British policy on the north-western frontier until the 1840s" (DNB). Abbey Travel 504; Tooley 209.