BRUCE, James (1730-1794). Travels to discover the source of the Nile, in the years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773. Edinburgh: J. Ruthven for G.G.J. & J. Robinson of London, 1790. 5 volumes, 4° (310 x 245mm). Half-titles, final blank in vol.II. Engraved title vignettes and 1 headpiece, 3 folding engraved maps, 4 engraved plans and 54 engraved plates by Heath, and others, after Bruce and Luigi Balugani, vol.I with 3ll. printed with 7 Ethiopic dialects. (Some old dampstaining, particularly to plates in vol.V.) Original boards, paper labels to backstrips, uncut (worn, backstrips torn with loss, bumped, some soiling). Provenance: 'JB' (contemporary book plate in each vol. with an unidentified monogram surmounted by a viscount's coronet).
FIRST EDITION OF BRUCE'S MAJOR WORK ON THE NILE IN THE ORIGINAL BOARDS: VERY RARE IN THIS STATE'. 'Bruce... travelled in North Africa for a year and then went on to Crete, Asia Minor and Syria... he finally arrived in Egypt in 1768 accompanied by the Italian artist Luigi Balugani. Bruce spent five years in upper Egypt, Abyssinia, and in the exploration of the Nile... More than 150 years had passed since any European had visited Abyssinia except the French surgeon Poncet, and Bruce's account of his travels provided important information... But the interest of his travels is to be found as much in their literary qualities as in his portrayal of Abyssinia.': Blackmer 221.
Richard WHARTON. Observations on the Authenticity of Bruce's travels in Abyssinia; in reply to some passages in Brown's travels through Egypt, Africa, and Syria... Newcastle: printed by E. Walker, sold by T. Cadell, jun., & W. Davies of London, J. Todd of York, A. Clifton of Durham and W. Charnley of Newcastle, 1800. 4° (259 x 210mm). (Spotted.) Original wrappers (worn, backstrip torn with loss). Provenance: Rev. R. Wharton (author's presentation inscription 'From the Author. to Rev. R. Wharton.') AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THIS VERY RARE WORK SUPPORTING BRUCE: no copies are listed as having sold at auction in the past twenty-five years. (6)