Picturesque Scenery in the Holy Land and Syria,
London: Edward Orme, 1803. Item #05469
Francis B. Spilsbury's Account of his Travels in the Holy Land and Syria
During the Napoleonic Campaigns
SPILSBURY, Francis B. Picturesque Scenery in the Holy Land and Syria, Delinieated during the Campaigns of 1799 and 1800. By F.B. Spilsbury, of his Majesty's ship Le Tigre; Surgeon in that expedition during both campaigns. London: Edward Orme, 1803.
First edition, earliest issue. Folio (18 1/4 x 12 7/8 inches; 464 x 327 mm.). [iv], [i]-iv, -42, [2, list of engravings, verso blank] pp. Small oval aquatint portrait of Sir John Douglas on page 26. Fine mezzotint portrait of Sir William Sydney Smith, and nineteen fine hand colored aquatint plates. Plates and text watermarked "J. Whatman 1801". All plates tissue guards.
Full contemporary brown calf, covers with triple gilt and decorative blind-stamped borders. Expertly and almost invisibly rebacked with the original spine laid down. Spine with five raised bands decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments, red morocco label lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. With the armorial bookplate of the Stanley Family, Earls of Derby on front paste-down.
The quality of the plates in this first edition is far superior to that of the later issues. They include views of Acre, Sidon, Tyre, Beirut, Jaffa, Mount Tabor, Tripoli, Caeserea and also fine genre scenes showing costumes, etc., etc.
Note: In the later editions of 1819 & 1823 which were published by Thomas M'Lean, the plates were closely copied, reduced in size, and were uniformly in aquatint, but with nothing like the sublety of technique of the first edition of 1803 which was published by Edward Orme. The portrait of Sir Sydney Smith was also omitted.
English naval surgeon Francis B. Spilsbury's account of his travels in the Holy Land and Syria during the Napoleonic campaigns there. Spilsbury was surgeon on board the newly commissioned HMS Tigre (French prize Tigre 74) during the campaigns of 1799 and 1800. The Tigre brought Sir William Sidney Smith to defend Acre against Napoleon's siege, and led a naval force in support of Turkish armies which finally relieved Acre, and his text gives some account of the military campaigns and the Turkish dignitaries. In his reminiscences Napoleon accused Smith of making him miss his destiny, as Smith's timely appearance thwarted Napoleon's drive to invade Syria and forced him to retreat to Egypt.
Sir William Sidney Smith - Mezzotint Portrait
1. View of Acre & H.M. Ship Le Tigre
2. Jezzar Pacha condemning a Criminal
5. Daniel Bryan
6. A Market in Acre
7. A Burial Place at Beirout
8. Zeta near Jaffa in Syria
9. Arab Huts at Zeta
10. A Dance at Genin
11. Mount Tabor
12. Joseph's Pit and Well
13. The Lake of Tiberia
14. Jacob's Bridge
17. The Pilgrim's Castle
18. Dede, near Tripoli
19. The Grand Vizier's Tent
Abbey, Travel II, 381; Blackmer 1585; Bobins, I, 163; Brunet, V, 491; Colas 2788; Hiler, p. 811 (1823 edition); Lipperheide 1460; Martin Hardie, p. 131; Prideaux, p. 353; Tooley 464 (1819 edition).