An historical account of the British trade over the Caspian Sea, with a journal of travels from London through Russia into Persia, and back again through Russia, Germany and Holland, to which are added, the revolutions of Persia during the present century, with the particular history of the great usurper Nadir Kouli ...

London, Dodsley, Nourse, Millar, Vaillant, & Patterson, Waugh, and Willock, 1753.

4 vols in 3, 4to, with 4 frontispieces, 15 plates, and 9 folding maps; half-titles to vols III and IV (all called for), vols III and IV titled The Revolutions of Persia; very occasional light spotting, a few short tears to joints of maps; a very good set in contemporary British speckled calf, spines gilt in compartments with gilt red and green morocco lettering-pieces, board-edges roll-tooled in gilt, edges speckled red; lightly rubbed with a few small scuffs, end-caps a little chipped with short splits to joints; 1780s armorial bookplate of Arthur and Elizabeth Holdsworth, Widdicomb [Widicombe] to upper pastedowns, engraved by Coventry after Baines.

£1400

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An historical account of the British trade over the Caspian Sea, with a journal of travels from London through Russia into Persia, and back again through Russia, Germany and Holland, to which are added, the revolutions of Persia during the present century, with the particular history of the great usurper Nadir Kouli ...

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First edition of Hanway’s narrative of his trade mission to Russia, Persia, and the Caspian Sea. Having joined the Russia Company in 1743, Jonas Hanway (1712–1786) sailed for Riga in April that year, before travelling on to St Petersburg, Moscow, and Astrakhan in an attempt to re-establish the fragile trade route to Persia via the Caspian Sea. His mission proved unsuccessful: he was robbed by Khyars and later concluded ‘that the trade held no great promise, for Persia was too poor and Russia was wholly disinclined to see the expansion of Persian power on its southern frontier’ (ODNB). Published after his return to London in 1750, his Account is notable as one of the first European reports of the Caspian region, for its considerable information on the Russian court, where he spent several years, and the German cities visited on his return journey, and for its extensive contemporary history of Persia.

The present set bears a striking and unusual contemporary bookplate, with the names of both Arthur Holdsworth (c. 1757–1787) and his wife, Elizabeth née Holdsworth (c. 1760–1827). A prominent Devon merchant and ship-owner, Holdsworth served as Governor of Dartmouth Castle from 1777 until his death and as Member of Parliament for Dartmouth from 1780.

ESTC T93947; Goldsmiths’ 8801; Kress 5268.

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