JAMES BRUCE (1730-1794)
Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in the years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773 [Vol. V titled: Select Specimens of Natural History, collected in Travels to discover the Source of the Nile]. Edinburgh: printed by J. Ruthven for G. G. J. and J. Robinson, London, 1790. 5 volumes including Appendix, 4° (290 x 235mm.) Half titles, engraved title vignettes, 54 plates only (of 55), one folding, 3 folding plans, 3 large folding maps, 4 leaves of Ethiopic dialect scripts. (A few leaves lightly browned, a few leaves spotted and lightly browned, occasional light spotting more pronounced in vols. II and III). Contemporary polished calf, spines with raised bands and red and green morocco lettering-pieces (a few light scuff marks). Provenance: Charles MacKenzie of Kilcoy (armorial bookplate).
STANLEY'S COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION of this important text on the Upper Nile. Bruce arrived in Egypt in 1768 and spent 5 years in Upper Egypt and Abyssinia, sailing up the Nile to Aswan, crossing the desert to the Red Sea, and landing at Masuah, the port of Abyssinia, in September 1769. With the sole exception of the French surgeon Poncet, no European had visited Abyssinia for the previous 150 years and Bruce's account is therefore of unique importance. He reached Gondar, the capital, February 1770, explored the sources of the Blue Nile, left Gondar in 1771, travelled to Sennaar in Nubia, and reached Aswan in November 1772, returning to England in 1774. The plates in this work, published over 15 years after his return, were based on his own drawings and those of Luigi Balugani, the Italian artist who accompanied him. Blackmer 221; Hilmy I, 91; Hosken p. 29; Nissen ZBI 617. (5)