PRISSE D'AVENNES, Achille Constant Théodore Emile (1820-1879) and James Augustus ST. JOHN (1801-1875). Oriental Album. Characters, Costumes and Modes of Life in the Valley of the Nile. London: James Madden, 1848.
2° (559 x 419mm). Chromolithographic additional title, hand-coloured tinted lithographic frontispiece and 30 hand-coloured plates by Lemoine, Lehnert, Mouilleron, Le Roux and others after Prisse d'Avennes, printed by Lemercier, all mounted on card. Letterpress title, dedication, plate list and 60pp. of descriptive text by St. John with 35 wood-engraved illustrations. (Title and a few text leaves spotted at margins, spotting slightly affecting plate 23, otherwise restricted to the card mounts of about eleven plates, occasional thumb-soiling, paper guard to frontispiece torn.) Contemporary gilt-panelled maroon morocco, gilt edges (lightly rubbed and scuffed). Provenance: old lot label (lot 160**) on upper cover.
A DELUXE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION WITH THE PLATES COLOURED ON CARD. Who was Who in Egyptology (London, 1972) describes Prisse as the 'most mysterious of all the great pioneer figures in Egyptology' and this early album, published in the same decade that he undertook excavations at Thebes and discovered the Table of the Kings at Karnak, justifies his reputation as 'a fine artist and outstandingly brilliant observer,' equally interested in the costumes of men and women. The bearded European in arab dress, seen in the frontispiece, is the botanist George Lloyd (1815-1843), and the artist's posthumous dedication records that Lloyd had suggested 'this series of drawings, illustrative of the valley of the Nile,' before his untimely death in a shooting accident. St. John, who was responsible for the letterpress, was also the author of the 2-volume Egypt and Mohameed Ali, or Travels in the valley of the Nile (1834). Atabey 1001; Blackmer 1357; Brunet IV, 885; Colas 2427; Lipperheide Ma30; not in Abbey.