“THE TURKISH CRESCENT SHONE MOST RESPLENDENT”: WITH 30 FINE FOLIO HAND-COLORED AQUATINTS OF TURKISH MILITARY UNIFORMS
(TURKEY) (DALVIMART, Octavien). The Military Costume of Turkey. Illustrated by a Series of Engravings, from Drawings Made on the Spot. London: Thomas McLean, 1818. Tall folio (13 by 19 inches), contemporary full deep red straight-grain morocco rebacked with original spine laid down, raised bands, elaborately blind-tooled spine and covers, all edges gilt. $3600.
First edition, first issue, splendidly bound and illustrated, with hand-colored engraved frontispiece and 30 hand-colored aquatint plates by John Heaviside Clark after original drawings by Octavien d’Alvimart.
Turkish costume is “well calculated to give importance and even majesty to the wearer. A splendid turban, in rich and massy folds, surrounds the head; a loose and flowing robe, often of the most costly materials and exquisite beauty, covers the form; a sash, which frequently exceeds the richness of the turban, is wound about the waist;… here the ataghan, the handjar, the pistols are worn, and suspended from which, is to be seen the highly valued Damascus scimitar” (Preface). This handsome work depicts Turkish soldiers and officers of various ranks in attire from the height of Turkish military power— the period of Suleiman the Magnificent. Each hand-colored plate, drawn from life in 1798 by Octavien d’Alvimart and etched in aquatint by John Clark is accompanied by explanations of the figure’s rank, role, and details about his uniform, written by William Miller (from whom, through John Murray, Thomas McLean purchased the rights). In the title page vignette (Plate I), “The Grand Vizier is represented on horseback at the head of his army which is on the march.” First issue, with plates watermarked 1816. Bound with half title. Abbey Travel 373. Colas 2059. Hiler, 613. Prideaux, 345. Evidence of bookplate.
Hand-colored aquatint plates crisp and colors bright, small shallow dampstain to fore-edge margin, faint marks of handling, expert restoration to contemporary straight-grain morocco. A wonderful piece in near-fine condition.