“THE DIAMOND… THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF ALL STONES”: FRYER’S 1698 ILLUSTRATED NEW ACCOUNT OF EAST-INDIA AND PERSIA
FRYER, John. A New Account of East-India and Persia, in Eight Letters. Being Nine Years Travels, Begun 1672 and Finished 1681. London: Printed by R.R. for Ri. Chiswell, 1698. Folio (8 by 12 inches), contemporary full brown paneled calf boards sympathetically rebacked in calf-gilt, original burgundy morocco spine label, raised bands. $5800.
First edition, with engraved frontispiece portrait of the author, three full-page engraved maps and five engraved plates (three double-page), scarce in contemporary paneled calf boards.
"Fryer was a surgeon in the service of the East India Company for nine years and traveled extensively on the Coromandel and Malabar coasts. He describes well the cities of Surat and Bombay, the life and trade there as well as at Madras… His book is of great value in its account of the struggle of the Mahrattas under Sivaji to resist absorption into Aurangzib's empire, and in its analysis of the political state of the kingdom of Bijapur… He was well versed in the learning of the day and very curious in all questions connected with natural science" (Cox I:280). "His account of the places he visited is accurate and reliable, with numerous anecdotes told with a fine sense of humor" (Howgego, 406). "Contains many curious particulars respecting the natural history and medicine of these countries" (Lowndes, 844). Included are maps of India and Persia and natural history plates, as well as a discourse on precious stones, tortoise-shell and ivory. Small printed caption tipped to lower margin of second map. Wing 2257. Early number notation to front pastedown, institutional stamp to title page.
Text and plates generally fresh with light scattered foxing, faint occasional marginal dampstaining minimally affecting a plate, light expert restoration to boards. A handsome folio volume in extremely good condition.