A Tour through Sicily and Malta.  In a series of letters to William Beckford, Esq., of Somerly in Suffolk … a new edition. 

London, W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1775. 

Two vols in one, 8vo, pp. I: [iii]-xvi, 373, [3 (publisher’s advertisements)], II: [iii]-xi, [1 (blank)], 355, [1 (blank)], with folding map as frontispiece; bound without half-titles; short closed tear to inner fold of map, very occasional spotting, but a very good copy; in contemporary speckled calf, spine gilt-ruled in compartments with gilt-lettered red morocco label, marbled endpapers, green ribbon place-marker; somewhat scuffed, corners bumped, joints partially cracked, boards rubbed with some wear to extremities, corners bumped; ink ownership inscription ‘S Clough 1794’ to titles.


US $316€292

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A Tour through Sicily and Malta.  In a series of letters to William Beckford, Esq., of Somerly in Suffolk … a new edition. 

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Fourth edition of ‘one of the most successful works on Italian travel written in the eighteenth century and … the first important book on Sicily’ (Pine-Coffin). 

This pioneering work recounts the travels of Patrick Brydone (1736−1818) during the summer of 1770 from Naples to Sicily and Malta.  He travelled in the company of the seventeen-year-old William Fullarton (later colonel and commissioner of Trinidad), a friend named Glover, and several servants.  ‘At this time Sicily was virtually unknown to British travellers …  The work met with critical acclaim and the vulcanological and electrical observations it contained earned Brydone election to the Royal Society in 1773.  He was also elected fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries’ (ODNB).  The work secured Brydone’s reputation as the authority on Sicily, ‘remain[ing] popular until after the Napoleonic wars, when renewed interest in the island as a result of the British occupation, led to the appearance of many new works …  An earlier work on Sicily, by John Dryden the younger, was not published until 1776, after the success of Brydone’s Tour had demonstrated public interest in the island’ (Pine Coffin). 

Brydone attracted the attention both of Walpole, who in 1790 wrote of spending the evening in company with ‘Brydone, the Sicilian traveller, who having wriggled himself into Bushy, will I suppose soon be an envoy, like so many other Scots’, and of Johnson, who criticized his speculations on the age of the earth on vulcanological evidence, but ceded that ‘If Brydone were more attentive to his Bible, he would be a good traveller’ (quoted in ODNB). 

Meeting enormous success after its first publication by Strahan and Cadell in 1773, the Tour was reprinted twice the following year and was the subject of several piracies in Dublin.  The folding frontispiece map depicting Brydone’s journey was drawn and engraved by Thomas Kitchin (1719−1784), royal geographer and hydrographer to the King. 

ESTC N34285; Pine-Coffin 770.2. 

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