WILSON’S HOLY LAND AND EGYPT, WITH 39 FINE FULL-PAGE ENGRAVINGS, A SPLENDID COPY
(MIDDLE EAST) WILSON, Colonel Charles. Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt. New York: Appleton, (1881-83). Two volumes. Folio (11 by 13 inches), original deluxe full brown morocco, raised bands, ornately blind- and gilt-stamped covers, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $3900.
First edition, American issue, of this handsome pictorial survey of the Holy Land and Egypt, with lovely additional engraved title pages, 39 fine full-page steel engravings and over 600 in-text wood-engravings, in original publisher’s deluxe morocco-gilt.
"Sir Charles Wilson had many interests in life outside his military and political duties, and probably did more than any other man to increase the knowledge of the geography and archaeology of Asia Minor, Palestine, and the adjacent countries" (Watson). Wilson's was the first official survey of Jerusalem (1864-65), the brainchild of Angela Burdett-Coutts of the wealthy banking family, who wished to provide Jerusalem with an improved water system. In the course of the survey, Wilson's team was given permission to make images of Muslim sacred areas, including the Dome of the Rock (pictured in Volume I, 49-66), from which Christians had been previously barred (see Vaczek & Buckland, 68-69). The views in this monumental visual history depict Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Galilee, Damascus, Palestine and the great ruins of Egypt— the Pyramids at Giza, Luxor, and the Great Temple of Karnak. The plates and wood-engravings were prepared from drawings by Harry Fenn and J.D. Woodward. Fenn illustrated Whittier's Snow Bound (1867) and Ballads of New England (1870), the first illustrated gift books of their kind in the United States. He was also a founding member of the American Watercolor Society. Blackmer 1817.
A fine copy.