BIGHAM, Clive. A Ride Through Western Asia.

London, Macmillan, 1897.


8vo. Original red cloth, spine lettered in gilt; pp. xii, 275, plates after photographs, four folding colour-printed maps; light rubbing and bumping to binding, minimal spotting to title and margins of frontispiece; otherwise very clean and fresh: provenance: armorial bookplate George Fleming inside front cover, pictorial bookplate of John Frederick Nankivell with depiction of Ilfracombe Hotel, North Devon, dated 1868, on opposite fly-leaf.

First edition. This is an account of a journey from Istanbul over Ankara through Anatolia and Armenia into Persia, where the author meandered around and stayed some time in modern Iraq, then again to Persia via Kurdistan, into Russian Turkmenistan, Bukhara, Samarkand, Kashgar, finally into China and to the Trans-Siberian Railway. Charles Clive Bigham, 2nd Viscount Mersey carried out several diplomatic missions, and this one of the major - and frequently overlooked - books on Persia, as well as a good source on the Great Game. A few plates are after photographs by the Iranian-Armenian-Georgian photographer Antoin Sevruguin, whose photographic plates and prints were completely destroyed by Cossacks in 1908 during the suppresion of the Contitutionalist movement.

Provenance: George Fleming (1833-1901) was a Scottish veterinary surgeon who joined the army and 'served in the Crimea until the end of the war. In 1859 he volunteered for the expedition to north China, and he was present at the capture of the Taku (Dagu) forts and the surrender of Peking (Beijing), receiving for his services a medal with two clasps. While in China he undertook an expedition beyond the Great Wall, which he described in Travels on Horseback in Manchu Tartary (1863). In 1866 he obtained the diploma of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and in 1867 he served with the army in Syria and Egypt' (ODNB).