ADMIRAL SIR GEORGE BACK (1796-1878)
Narrative of the Arctic land expedition to the mouth of the Great Fish River, and along the shores of the Arctic Ocean, in the years 1833, 1834, and 1835. London: A.Spottiswoode for John Murray, 1836. 4° (272 x 218mm). 16 plates on india paper mounted, after Back (13) and B. Waterhouse Hawkins (3), (7 lithographed by Haghe or Day & Haghe, 9 steel-engraved by E. Finden), 1 folding engraved map, numerous illustrations. (Spotting to plates, occasionally heavy, light spotting to first and last few leaves.) Contemporary brown calf gilt, upper cover with double fillet, spine in six compartments with wide raised bands, the bands highlighted by fillets in gilt and blind, red morocco lettering-piece, marbled endpapers, marbled edges (some scuffing and discolouration of leather.
RARE LARGE PAPER COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION 'ONE OF THE FINEST TRAVEL BOOKS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY' (Howgego). The original primary intention of the expedition had been to aid Sir John Ross. News of Ross's safe return reached Back in April 1833 and he then pursued the expedition's secondary objectives. These were, firstly, to navigate the length of a river supposedly arising in the neighbourhood of the Great Slave Lake and running north to the Arctic sea, and then, secondly, to map as much as possible of the sea-coast. He was successful in both objectives, travelling 7,500 miles in total and traversing the full 440-mile length of the river (known as 'Thlueetessy' by the indians). The Great Fish River, as Back named it, has since become known as Back River. Arctic Bibliography I,851; cf.BM(NH) I,p.81 (incorrect plate count); cf. Howgego II,B3; cf.Sabin 2613 (incorrect plate count); Staton & Tremaine 1873.