This very good set is No 186 (of 250 copies) of the 2-vol demy quarto de luxe edition signed by Henry M Stanley - the most sought-after edition of this author's most widely published work.
Half-bound in brown calf and ivory vellum with gilt lettering to the spines and gilt lettering, design and signatures to the upper panels. Plain endpapers with 2 additional plain leaves front and back. Top edges gilt. Title pages printed in red and black. Brown marker ribbons.
Vol I. xvi + 530 pp of text, appendix and index + 6-fold colour map + engraved frontispiece and 15 other full-page engravings and 54 other engravings in the text + 3 full-page etchings. This volume includes a prefatory letter to Sir William Mackinnon, chairman of the Emin Pasha Relief Committee.
Vol II. xv + 472 pp of text, appendixes and index + 8-fold and 3-fold colour maps + engraved frontispiece and 23 other full-page engravings and 46 other engravings in the text + 5 full-page etchings.
CONDITION NOTES. All the corners and the outer front hinge of Vol I are lightly rubbed. The gilt page-edges remain bright. The ribbons are present and undamaged. There is a 75 mm crack to the front endpaper of Vol I and 100 mm and 20 mm cracks to the endpapers of Vol II; but the hinges are not damaged and the binding remains tight and square. The volumes are complete, unmarked and undiscoloured, with no bookplates or other indications of previous ownership. Specifically, the plates and their tissue-protectors are all in place and fine, while the colour maps are crisp and without any chips or tears.
FURTHER COMMENTS. The materials and workmanship are of the highest standard. For example, the text is beautifully printed on heavy John Dickinson watermarked laid paper with deckled edges, which remain bright white all over except at the exposed page edges, which are sunned. The maps, already referred to, are not only large - 60 x 75 cm for the larger Vol II map and 45 x 60 cm for the Vol I map - but each panel is mounted separately on a substrate so that the folds remain perfect.
The binding imperfections prevent the set being rated fine, but the overall condition is better than very good: while the volumes have been opened and examined they have been read very carefully, if at all. The engravings - tissue protected when full-page, otherwise with tissue protection pasted in register - are all unflawed. There is a little spotting in the margins of the handful of sepia etchings, all signed in pencil by the etcher.
- Binding Condition: Very Good
- Overall Condition: Very Good
- Size: 300 x 245 x 150; 6 kg