London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
ROBLEY, Horatio Gordon (1840-1930). Moko; or Maori Tattooing. London: Chapman and Hall, 1896. 4° (284 x 225mm). Half title, half tone frontispiece, 180 illustrations from drawings by the author and from photographs (a few occasional spots). Original publisher's cloth (front joint slightly marked, inner from hinge split at top and with remnants of adhesive tape, rubbed). With 4 autograph letters signed by the author to Robert Day, 7 St Alban's Place, 6 April 1904 and [n.d.], together 18 pages, 8vo, including sketches of heads and artefacts. Provenance: Robert Day (2 bookplates).
FIRST EDITION, WITH 4 AUTOGRAPH LETTERS SIGNED, AND 4 ORIGINAL PEN AND INK DRAWINGS tipped-in, 3 inscribed "Drawn by the Author", also 3 further illustrations tipped-in at front or rear of the book, including a portrait of Robley.
Major General Horatio Gordon Robley joined the 68th Durham Light Infantry in 1858. "In 1863 the 68th Regiment left Burma for New Zealand and, in the following April, Robley took his troops to Tauranga to join General Cameron's forces attacking Gate Pa. Here he remained for 19 months during which his amazing series of sketches of Maori life were executed ... Robley wrote two books on New Zealand, Moko or Maori Tattooing is the more outstanding. 'His acknowledged object,' it has been said, 'was to put together a text to support the specialised record he had drawn of tattoo patterns and of his collection of dried heads. On these two subjects he regarded himself as an authority, a claim not to be disputed provided we bear in mind that his awareness was that of a curio collector, and not that of a scholar'" (William John Phillips in Encyclopedia of New Zealand).
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