“ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT RECORDS OF TRIPOLITAN LIFE”: TULLY’S TRIPOLI, 1816, WITH MAP AND FIVE HAND-COLORED PLATES
(AFRICA) TULLY, Richard. Narrative of a Ten Years’ Residence at Tripoli in Africa… Also, An Account of the Domestic Manners of the Moors, Arabs, and Turks. London: Henry Colburn, 1816. Quarto, contemporary three-quarter red morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards, endpapers and edges. $2500.
First edition of this revealing “insider” account of the Court of the Bashaw of Tripoli, with engraved folding map of the “Regencies of Tripoli and Tunis,” and five vibrant hand-colored aquatints of Moorish costume and customs.
“This work is one of the most important records of Tripolitan life during the 18th century” (Maggs II 2003). Richard Tully was the British Consul at Tripoli from 1783 to 1793. “The closest intimacy subsisted” between Tully’s family and the reigning Bashaw, whose “authentic memoirs and anecdotes” are related here in Tully’s sister’s letters. These letters provide “the only exact account of the private manners and conduct of this African Despot, and detail such scenes and events, such sketches of human weakness and vice, the effects of ambition, avarice, envy, and intrigue, as will scarcely appear credible… In the parts of Africa to which [the letters] refer, the natives neither admit nor even know of innovations, their manners remaining from age to age invariably the same… The volume will be found an object of particular curiosity, from the lively and artless manner in which it lays open the interior of the Court of the Bashaw of Tripoli.” Miss Tully’s Tripoli was the source Lord Byron used for his description of furniture in Canto III of Don Juan (see Letters V, 346). Tooley 493. See Abbey, Travel 301 (1817 edition).
Plate impressions crisp and colors bright, light occasional foxing to margins of text, foxing and faint dampstain to map. A very desirable copy in near-fine condition.