Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Views in Affghaunistaun... from Sketches Taken during the Campaign of the Army of the Indus

London: W. H. Allen and T. M'Lean, [1841]. Hardcover. Folio. [6 = frontispiece, title, dedication], 18, 16pp. Hand-tinted (green and yellow-ochre) lithographic frontispiece; hand-tinted lithographic title; 23 unnumbered hand-tinted lithographic scenes (one tint) with captions; 1 text engraving (minarets at Ghuznee). Later full forest green pebbled morocco over wooden boards, with floral motifs elaborately tooled in gilt; recessed diamond lozenge at both boards; gilt-tooled spine; gilt dentelles; light blue paper endleaves with gilt stars; edges gilt and gauffered; green silk ribbon marker. Light to moderate foxing throughout (more so at text leaves and at margins; most plates largely unaffected). A good or better copy, very handsomely bound.

A collection of 23-hand colored lithographic plates based on sketches made during the opening campaign of the First Anglo-Afghan War by Sir Keith Alexander Jackson, a captain in the British Fourth Light Dragoons. The accompanying text prepared by Jackson is divided into fifteen sections which reference to the chief cities of the campaign, along with several important structures and the Bolan Pass region (present-day Pakistan). In his notes Jackson provides historical and topographical information in addition to details of the campaign. The British objective was to replace the current Afghan amir, Dost Mohammed Khan, who was thought too succeptible to Russian influence, with the more friendly Shah Shuja.

The hand-colored frontispiece is descibed as a "Fac-simile of a drawing in colours found in the women's Anderoon [Pers. = harem apartments] at Ghuznee... just after the storming of that Fortress, supposed to be the Portrait of an Affghaun Exquisite [i.e., a dandy]." Following the lithographed dedication by Joseph Fowell Walton to the chairman and directors of the East India Company, the work opens with the detailed "Map of the Route of the Army of the Indus. 1839." After setting out from British India in December 1838, the British forces reached Quetta (Kwettah) in late March 1839 and proceeded through the Bolan Pass into Afghanistan. Kandahar fell on April 25, 1839, and the great fortress of Ghazni (Ghuznee) was captured on July 23 of that year. Beginning with Kabul (Caubul), the order of the lithographs and text reverses that of the campaign (excepting the views of Quetta, which appear just before those of Kandahar). The final view depicts a notable antiquity in the environs of Thatta (Tatta), a town near the mouth of the Indus River where the campaign began: surrounded by a compliment of Afghan guards, Sir Keith Alexander Jackson is seated in a folding chair as he sketches the ruins of the medieval tomb before him. An intreaguing melange of imperial propaganda and travelogue, the spirit of the enterprise is well expressed in Jackson's observation on the forifications at Kelat: "The citadel, though presenting a formidable appearance, from its towering height, offered but a fruitless resistance to the science with which it was assailed."

Notes on the plates: Close inspection of the two digitized copies available via the Library of Congress (LC) and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB) reveal several interesting points regarding the compliment of plates when compared with the detailed descriptions which appear in J. R. Abbey's standard reference, Travel in Aquatint and Lithography 1770-1860. Apart from the map (listed separately), Abbey lists 27 lithographic plates. Including the frontispiece and title, our copy contains 25 plates, some of which cannot with certainty by matched with those in Abbey (see below). The order of plates differs significantly from Abbey, as well: the first twelve scenic plates in our copy correspond to Abbey nos. 16-27. As it turns out, like our copy, the copies in LC and BSB also contain 25 lithographs, with the same sequence of scenes, arranged in the same order. However, seven of the scenes in the BSB copy -- Ruined Tower on the River at Maidaum, Army Marching [Abbey 19]; Abdool Rahmun's Fort, after the Mines Were Sprung [23]; Kwettah Candahar Gate [25]; Dadur [5]; North Gate of the Fort of Bukkur, on the Indus [?]; Fort of Bukkur and Roree from Sukkur [8]; Island on the Indus just below Bukkur [11] -- though clearly based on the same drawings by Jackson, are not the work of same artist as those in our copy or the copy in LC, the latter containing a suite of scenic plates absolutely identical to ours. The two plates which appear in Abbey but do not appear in the three copies which we have been able to inspect are: Persian Water Wheel, on the Banks of the Indus [Abbey 10]; City of Caubul from the Jellalabad Road [15]. Further complications arise when we compare the titles with those in Abbey. Two plates in our copy do not match any on Abbey's list: Mountains at Kirta, near Curm Aub, Bolan Pass; North Gate of the Fort of Bukkur, on the Indus. The latter is most interesting, as by process of elimination it would have to correspond with Abbey 9, Roree and Fort of Bukkur, which would not appear to describe this scene. While we are unable to determine whether these views appear in Abbey's copy or not, it is clear that significant variations occur in the compliment of scenic plates published in Jackson's Views of Affghaunistaun. Inspection of the BSB copy even introduces the possibility that Abbey's copy includes a case or two of double renditions of the same view by different artists. For example, nos. 3 and 4 are each titled Kondye, Bolan Pass, the first being signed W. L. Walton. Good+. Item #52929

Abbey, no. 506.

Price: $7,500.00