“THERE BEFORE US LAY THE SEALED DOOR”: INSCRIBED BY HOWARD CARTER, ILLUSTRATED FIRST EDITION OF THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT’S TOMB
CARTER, Howard and MACE, A.C. The Tomb of Tutankhamen Discovered by the Late Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter. London: Cassell, 1923-33. Three volumes. Thick octavo, original brown cloth gilt with decorative gilt scarabs on front covers, patterned endpapers. Housed together in a custom slipcase. $19,500.
First edition of Carter’s account of the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, including the scarce third volume, with 247 dramatic illustrations, inscribed in Volume I: “Howard Carter, in remembrance of many happy days, March 1924."
When Carter entered King Tut's tomb in 1922, he bridged 3000 years separating the reign of the Boy-King from the modern world. This first detailed account, richly illustrated with hundreds of plates after photographs taken by Harry Burton, includes images from the discovery of Tut's sepulchral chamber, the excavation of the site and hundreds of catalogued artifacts. Carter began working on Egyptian digs at the age of 17, working his way up to until he was "appointed by the Egyptian government to be inspector-in-chief of the monuments of Upper Egypt and Nubia with headquarters at Thebes. In 1902 he began excavations in the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings, discovered the sepulchres of Hatshepsut (as sovereign) and Tuthmosis IV, and installed electric lighting in several of the larger royal tombs at Thebes and in the rock-temple at Abu Simbel in Nubia. In 1903 Carter was transferred to the inspectorate of Lower Egypt with headquarters at Tanta… Five years later (1908)… Carter returned in order to superintend the excavations in the necropolis at Thebes being conducted by George Herbert, fifth Earl of Carnarvon [q.v.]. During the war of 1914-1918, among other discoveries, he found and cleared the long sought for tomb of Amenophis I. On 4 November 1922 he made the great discovery which will always be associated with his name, the tomb of King Tutankhamen with its extraordinary wealth of artistic treasures. Carter's records of the objects found and his handling and packing of them for transport down the Nile to Cairo were a most brilliant achievement and occupied no less than ten seasons (1922-1932). He published The Tomb of Tut-ankh-Amen and he had hoped to publish the full catalogue of all objects found, but his health failed and the work was unfinished" (DNB). Because of the Depression, the third and final volume, included here, was printed in limited numbers and is consequently quite scarce. Without dust jackets, as usual.
Scattered light foxing as often, inner paper hinges expertly reinforced in Volume II, only slightest edge-wear to fresh original cloth. Rare and desirable inscribed by Carter.