18 May 2006
WILLIAM DE W. ABNEY
Thebes and its Five Greater Temples. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, 1876. 4° (310 x 250mm). 40 woodburytypes, 5 plans and 1 lithographic map. (Occasional light spotting.) Original purple cloth lettered and ruled in gilt, edges gilt (lower hinge cracked, corner rubbed, spine worn and starting at head). Provenance: inked shelf mark on front cover.
FIRST EDITION. Abney, the inventor of gelatino-chloride paper, had been sent to Egypt to organize the photographic observation of the transit of Venus in 1874. During the long intervals of leisure Abney turned his camera on the Egyptian landscape so that those 'to whom Egypt is a terra incognita, may gain an idea, though of necessity imperfect, of the marvellous architectural creations of a race whose early history is as yet shrouded in obscurity' (introduction). Cf. The Truthful Lens, p.185.
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