Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt: by SONNINI De MANONCOURT,…

SONNINI De MANONCOURT, Charles Nicolas Sigisbert (1751-1812)

Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt: undertaken by order of the Old Government of France; by C.S. Sonnini... Illustrated with Forty Engravings; consisting of Portraits, Views, Plans, a Geographical Chart, Antiquities, Plants, Animals, &c. Drawn on the Spot, under the Author’s Inspection. Translated from the French by Henry Hunter, D.D. In three volumes. Vol. I [-III]. London, John Stockdale, 1799.

First Edition in English. Three volumes, 8vo (208 x 120 mm), engraved frontispiece to each volume and pp. xix, 376; vii, [i], 368; viii, 324, [32], with 37 copper engravings alongside the text and a large folding engraved map on thick paper, the dedication leaf bound before the title in the first volume, some light foxing and darkening in text, in modern full russet blonde calf with new endpapers, central vignette gilt on covers, spines lettered and numbered in gilt.

An important account of Sonnini’s exploration of Egypt, undertaken over a period of three years under instruction from Louis XVI. Sonnini had originally set out with the intention of collecting rare Egyptian birds and joined Baron de Tott’s expedition of 1777 with his purpose in mind but on arrival was met with the instructions which led to this more general study. Having worked closely with Buffon, Sonnini’s principal interest was in natural history, as can be seen from many of the plates in the present work illustrating plants and fishes but the account of his travels also takes in the wider survey of antiquities and geographical details, also represented in the suite of plates. The work also abounds in cultural details, with discussion of topics ranging from female circumcision, lesbianism, the use of cosmetics and sexuality in public baths to the effects of leprosy and the eating of serpents.

ESTC t150187; Cox I, 395.

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