# 39589

BURTON, Richard Francis, Sir (1821-1890)

Falconry in the Valley of the Indus.

$4,300.00 AUD

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London : John van Voorst, 1852. First edition. Small octavo (195 x 135 mm), publisher’s blind-blocked purple cloth (lower board very lightly marked), gilt-lettered spine (sunned); pp. [4], 107, [8 publisher’s catalogue], illustrated with 4 tinted lithographed plates (including frontispiece) by Lieutenant McMullin; a touch of foxing to the top-edge margin of each of the plates, else internally clean and bright, binding nice and firm; a very fine example.

As a British Army officer in India in the 1840s, the explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) studied in great depth the cultures and religions of the subcontinent. He also became a proficient speaker of Hindustani, Gujarati, Punjabi, Sindhi, Saraiki and Marathi, as well as Persian and Arabic. The present study of falconry in the Indus Valley is the last of four works Burton wrote which contain accounts based on his experiences in India during this early part of his military career. Specifically, it draws on observations of the culture and customs of Sindh, made during his time there in 1845-46.

This is a rare copy of the first edition of Falconry in the Valley of the Indus, one of only 500 copies published. It is likely, however, that far fewer than that number have actually survived: the book did not prove popular with the British reading public – in fact, it would not be an exaggeration to label the publication a commercial disaster – and consequently, a quarter of a century later, the publisher van Voorst wrote to Burton in 1877 to advise him that a little over half the edition still remained unsold, and urging that the remaining copies be destroyed.

Penzer p. 41; Schwerdt I, p. 90; Harting 66.