PRISSE D'AVENNES, Achille Constant Thiodore 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.
2o (564 x 385 mm). Letterpress title, dedication, plate list and 60pp. of descriptive text by St. John with 35 wood-engraved illustrations. Chromolithographed additional title, tinted lithographed frontispiece and 30 tinted lithographed plates by Lemoine, Lehnert, Mouilleron, Le Roux and others after Prisse d'Avennes, printed by Lemercier (text and plates sprung, plate 16 worn at edges, some foxing throughout). Original quarter morocco, moiré boards, title gilt-lettered on front cover and spine (a bit worn, inner hinges reinforced).
FIRST EDITION. Prisse was 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 (Who Was Who in Egyptology, London, 1972). 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 text, was also the author of the two-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 Travel.