London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
RUSSELL, Alexander (1714-1768). The Natural History of Aleppo. Second edition. London: Robinson, 1794. 2 volumes, 4° (290 x 235 mm). 19 engraved plates only (of 20), including botanical plates by Ehret. Contemporary tree calf, flat spines ruled gilt in 6 compartments, red morocco lettering pieces in second compartment (spines rebacked, scuffs to boards, corners neatly repaired).
'In 1740 [Russell] went to Aleppo in Syria as physician to the English factory. [There] he established an "extensive practice among all ranks and degrees of people". He learned to speak Arabic fluently, and acquired great influence with the pasha. In 1750 he was joined by his younger half-brother Patrick, and in 1753 he resigned, returning to England by way of Naples and Leghorn in order to supplement his study of the plague at Aleppo by visiting the lazarettos at those places. Russell reached London in February 1755. Following encouragement from Fothergill, he published his Natural History of Aleppo the next year. This work, which was described by John Pinkerton as "one of the most complete pictures of Eastern manners extant", was reviewed by Samuel Johnson in The Literary Magazine' (ODNB). Blackmer 1458; Nissen ZBI 3534 (calling for 16 plates only). (2)
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