BURTON, Richard Francis. Falconry in the Valley of the Indus. London: John Van Voorst, 1852.
12° (197 x 132mm). Four lithographic plates, 8pp publisher's catalogue at end. (Light marginal stains, some pencil notes). Original brown cloth, spine gilt-lettered with title and author, covers double-ruled and decorated at corners and centre in blind, (signs of early water stain on covers and some leaves at upper margin). Provenance: Colonel William Henry Sykes (inscribed to 'Col. Sykes F.R.S. With the Author's best thanks' on half-title and with an A.L.s. from Sykes to Professor Royle from Hyde Park, 11 December, 1838, 1 sheet, folded, torn at seal).
RARE FIRST EDITION, PUBLISHER'S PRESENTATION COPY signed for the author. Burton's time in Sind 1845-46 brought him into contact with the region's accomplished falconers but this enthusiasm was not matched in Britain. A letter from the publisher states that 500 copies only were published. While not an initial success it was never remained, although the binding was altered, and it was still available from the publisher's successors as late as 1910. Convalescing in London and preparing the work for publication in 1852, Burton met several prominent members of the Royal Geographical Society, among them William Henry Sykes, the recipient of this copy. Sykes was a retired Director and later Deputy Chairman of the East India Co. and was impressed with young Burton's scientific approach to research. Burton was sufficiently impressed with Sykes to dedicate his 'Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah' to him in 1855. Although the accompanying A.L.s. does not bear on Sykes and Burton's relationship, it does say much about British India: 'My hour of trial for a struggle in East Indian matters is come & I must do my utmost to fight a good fight.' John Forbes Royle, East India Co. surgeon and naturalist, was involved with the introduction of the chinchona plant into India and, in 1838, was employed at East India Company House, London. Penzer p. 41. Casada 34. Spink 6.