PRESENTATION COPY OF A SKETCH OF THE CAREER OF RICHARD F. BURTON, 1886, INSCRIBED BY ISABEL BURTON IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION
(BURTON, Richard F.) (BURTON, Isabel) RICHARDS, Alfred Bates, WILSON, Andrew, and BADDELEY, St. Clair. A Sketch of the Career of Richard F. Burton. London: Waterlow & Sons, 1886. 12mo, original black paper-covered boards respined, with Burton's signature printed in gilt on both front and rear. $2000.
Second edition, presentation copy of this contemporary biography of Sir Richard F. Burton, with Woodburytype frontispiece portrait, inscribed by his wife, Isabel Burton: "Robert Mackay Smith with the sincere regard of his affect. friends Richard & Isabel Burton, Nov 9th 1886."
In this contemporary biography, three different authors trace the life, travels and adventures of a "very extraordinary man, who has toiled every hour and minute… distinguishing himself in every possible way. He has done more than any other six men in Her Majesty's dominions, and is one of the best, noblest and truest that breathes" (page 37). The recipient, Robert Mackay Smith (1802-1888), was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In Burton's 1875 survey of Iceland, Ultima Thule, he writes of "my friend, Mr. Robert Mackay Smith, [who] kindly lent me a little bell-tent, which had already seen service in Iceland, and which proved uncommonly useful." (vol. 2, p. 43). "This is a curious little book, often overlooked in studies of Burton, but it deserves closer attention. Of special note is the frontispiece, pp. 84-96, which prints ['the only scrap of autobiography we have from Burton's pen… written very early in life, whilst in India'], and pages 79-82, which contain a 'List of Captain Burton's Works'" (Casada 369).
Woodburytype photographic frontispiece bearing Burton's printed facsimile signatures in English and Arabic. This edition reprints and updates A Short Sketch of the Career of Captain Richard F. Burton
by "An Old Oxonian" (1880). Penzer, 305-06. Also inscribed: "L— S— R— 1919, From his affectionate Great Uncle R. M. S."
Interior clean with light offsetting to title page and frontispiece page, not affecting portrait, offsetting to pp. 64-65 from laid in clipping, original paper-covered boards with light restoration.