CARSTEN NIEBUHR (1733-1815)
Voyage en Arabie & en d'autres Pays circonvoisins ... Traduit de l'Allemand. Amsterdam & Utrecht: S.J. Baalde and J. van Schoonhoven & comp., 1775-1780. 2 volumes. [With:] C. NIEBUHR. Description de l'Arabie, faite sur des observations propres et des avis recueillis dans les lieux mêmes. Amsterdam & Utrecht: S.J. Baalde and J. van Schoonhoven & comp., 1774; [bound with:] JOHANN DAVID MICHAELIS (1717-1791). Recueil de questions, proposées à une société de savants, qui par ordre de Sa Majesté danoise font le voyage de l'Arabie. Amsterdam & Utrecht: S.J. Baalde and J. van Schoonhoven & comp., 1774.
3 works in three volumes, 4° (267 x 210 mm). 3 half-titles. 3 engraved titles with allegorical vignettes, [Voyage:] folding map of the Yemen, hand-coloured in outline with Niebuhr's route, 124 engraved plates, plans and maps (comprising: 32 maps and plans [8 folding], 92 plates [31 folding]), extra-illustrated with 1 large folding map of the Yemen, hand-coloured in outline (misbound from the Description). (Folding plate numbered XXVII in the second volume holed.); [Description:] 24 engraved plates, plans and maps only (of 25, comprising: 6 maps [5 folding], 18 plates [3 folding, 2 of these coloured by hand), 1 folding letterpress table. (Lacking the large folding map of the Yemen, bound into the Voyage); [Recueil de questions:] (Lacking first and last blanks). Uniform near-contemporary speckled calf gilt, roll-tool border to covers, spines in six compartments with raised bands, red morocco lettering-piece in the second, green morocco in the third compartment, the others with a repeat overall pattern in gilt made up from various roll tools, blue speckled edges (extremities rubbed and chipped, some splitting to joints).
FIRST EDITION IN FRENCH OF THE FIRST AND THIRD WORKS, second edition of the second work. Niebuhr was the only survivor of an expedition sent by the King of Denmark to Arabia. Amongst the other members were the philologist van Haven, the naturalist Forskal, a surgeon and an artist: none of whom survived. The present detailed works cover most aspects of the trip, but concentrate largely on the journey itself: the expedition travelled via Constantinople, to Cairo, then Arabia: the Yemen, Persia, Syria and Palestine. The expedition acted as a spur to the study of cunieform: as Niebuhr returned with a large number of examples, particularly from Persepolis. Cf. Atabey II, 873-874 (different editions of the first two works); Brunet IV.74; Gay 3589 (3)