“AN IMPORTANT ADDITION TO NAUTICAL SCIENCE”: PHIPPS’ VOYAGE TO THE NORTH POLE, 1774
PHIPPS, Constantine John. Voyage Towards the North Pole Undertaken by His Majesty's Command 1773. London: W. Bowyer and J. Nichols for J. Nourse, 1774. Quarto, contemporary full dark brown calf rebacked with original spine laid down, red morocco spine label. $7500.
First edition of the official account of Phipps’ polar voyage, with three folding maps, 12 engraved folding or double-page plates, and numerous charts and tables, 11 of which are folding.
Commodore Phipps, later Lord Mulgrave, led this expedition in June 1773 "for the purpose of discovering a route to India through the North Polar regions. North of Spitzbergen the sea was absolutely blocked with ice and the vessels had to return. Although unsuccessful the voyage was an important addition to nautical science, and the account of it contains a descriptive catalogue of the natural productions of Spitzbergen. The expedition is also of interest from the fact that Lord Nelson, then 14, accompanied it as a midshipman, and distinguished himself by his encounter with a bear" (Maggs II:870). The account includes "the valuable appendix to the work [which] gives geographical and meteorological observations, zoological and botanical records, accounts of the distillation of fresh water from the sea, and astronomical observations" (Hill, 206-7). Sabin 62572. Fitzgerald 560. Delgado, 55. Lowndes, 1860. Armorial bookplate; later owner ink signature.
A few plates mildly toned, text generally clean, some restoration to extremities of contemporary calf covers. An extremely good copy.