30 April 2008
MACKENZIE, Sir George Steuart (1780-1848). Travels in the Island of Iceland. Edinburgh: Archibald Constable and Company [and others], 1812.
4° (217 x 208mm). 2 engraved maps, one folding and with partial colour, 15 engraved plates, 8 hand-coloured and one folding, 4 folding letterpress tables. (Occasional light spotting, mainly affecting folding plates, old repair to upper margin of 2L2.) Contemporary purple half calf, marbled edges (spine and corners faded, extremities lightly rubbed).
Second edition. Mackenzie, chemist, geologist, and antiquary, was taught chemistry by Joseph Black and T. C. Hope who steered him towards a Huttonian view of geology as espoused in James Hutton's Theory of the Earth (1795). Mackenzie traveled to Iceland in 1810 with the physicians Henry Holland and Richard Bright, but their comradeship foundered over the first edition of Mackenzie's Travels (1811) when 'Holland objected to Mackenzie's misrepresentation of his geological observations. For the second edition Holland drew a distinction between recorded observations, for which he was to be given credit, and Mackenzie's Huttonian interpretations. Lyell admired Mackenzie's "magnificent collection of mineralogical treasures" from Iceland (Life, Letters and Journals, 1.186), part of which later went to Glasgow University' (ODNB). Tooley 314.
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