Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #110 ends in

US Auction #16 begins on 18 Oct 2023

Thomas Williamson, F. W. Blagdon, and Charles Doyley (Illus.).

The European in India

from a collection of drawings by Charles Doyley, Esq., engraved by J. H. Clark and C. Dubourg; with a preface and copious descriptions, by Captain Thomas Williamson; accompanied with a Brief History of Ancient and Modern India, from the earliest periods of Antiquity to the termination of the late Mahratta War by F. W. Blagdon, Esq.

Published: Edward Orme and Black, Parry and Co., London, 1813

Edition: First edition

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First edition (pp. 149, index). Quarto (31 cm) in half leather over marble boards; twenty fine aquatint engravings depicting various domestic and recreational scenes ("A European lady and her family, attended by an ayah, or nurse," "A Saumpareeah, or snake catcher, exhibiting snakes before Europeans") each measuring 14 cm by 16.5 cm (frame) and 9.5 cm by 12 cm (image).

Accompanying the aquatints (distinct from hand-coloured engravings) are short, one to three page explanations of the setting (why a gentleman might employ a Sicar, or money servant to handle all his disbursements - the local currency was complicated and required an effort to master it). The author is not, as the foregoing example suggests, thoroughly admiring of the conduct of Europeans in the colony; the gentlemen are sometimes portrayed sprawled at their desk with a hookah the size of a garden hose stuffed in their mouth while a servant manipulates a pukka or renders a report of expenditures for the last quarter… an account, according to Williamson, which likely is laced with invention.

Not a perfect copy: marbled paper worn through in places; small worm holes penetrated the first few pages and six plates; each page with two indentations or dimples which, even smoothed out, are a distraction though they do not affect the images themselves. Otherwise clean and tight. See Tooley (185). 

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