burton in the original cloth

[BURTON, Sir Richard Francis]. Wanderings in West Africa from Liverpool to Fernando Po. By a F.R.G.S.

London, Tinsley Brothers, 18, Catherine St., Strand, 1863.


8vo. 2 vols. Original blind-stamped maroon cloth, lettered in gilt to spine; pp. viii, [2], 303; [vi], 295; folding map frontispiece to vol. I, wood-engraved frontispiece of "The Juju, or Sacrifice House, Grand Bonny River" to vol. II; very minor rubbing to extremities, throughly nice and clean copy; provenance: both front paste-downs with engraved armorial bookplates of Edward Joseph Dent, both volumes with that of Norman Douglas Simpson on opposite fly-leaves.

First edition, the issue with Burton's name in gilt to the spines. Financial difficulties following his marriage to Isabel in 1861 led Burton to apply for and accept a minor consulship on the Spanish island of Fernando Po (Bioko, off Cameroon in West Africa). Wanderings in West Africa tells the story of Burton's voyage out to his new posting, with visits en route to Madeira, Tenerife, Freetown (Sierra Leone), Lagos, and elsewhere. Burton wished that his name be suppressed from the work: the attribution "By a F.R.G.S." hints at the controversy then raging between the author and the heads of the R.G.S. concerning the sources of the Nile. His consulship in Fernando Po proved of little interest as such to Burton, save in so far as it allowed him to travel in West Africa (see his Mission to Gelele and Abeokuta).

Provenance: From the book collection, which was rather strong on Africa, of the eminent British botanist Norman Douglas Simpson (1890-1974), who worked for some time in Egypt and the Sudan, before lending his services to Peradeniya Botanic Garden in Sri Lanka and publishing at his own expense (£2000) A Bibliographical Index of the British Flora in 1960. The first bookplate could be that of the British writer on music.

Penzer 71-2; Casada no. 70; Spink & Son, Catalogue of...Burton, nos. 28-30.