Ceylon, An Account of the Island, J. Emerson Tennent – 1859

, , , ,


Ceylon, An Account of the Island: Physical, Historical, and Topographical with Notices of its Natural History, Antiquities and Productions, James Emerson Tennent. Published by Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, London, 1859. Third Edition, Thoroughly Revised. Two volumes. 8vo. Vol. I: pp. xxxix, 643, with wood-engraved frontis; 31 wood engravings; 6 maps; 7 plans and charts. Vol II: xvi, 663, with wood-engraved frontis; 59 wood engravings; 3 maps (2 folding one of which is partly colored); 10 plans and charts. Three quarter leather over marbled paper boards; paneled spines with elaborate gilt design and leather labels in green and maroon; marbled endpapers; marbled edges. This set came from the private Library at Somerhill Park belonging to Sir Isaac Goldsmid; 2 custom bookplates (engraved by Wyon) at pastedowns are inked with the initials I.G. and are presumably his. In overall beautiful condition; binding is tight and square and gilt remains bright; very light rubbing to corners and edges of boards. Contents are crisp and clean with a few tiny and light foxing spots to the preliminaries. There is a tiny closed tear to gutter in first fold-out map; the second map is attached at the middle of the gutter with the tail and head cut; maps proper are in fine condition.

William Wyon RA, was official chief engraver at the Royal Mint. The Library at Somerhill Park bookplate is registered in the Catalogue of the Franks Collection of British and American Bookplates in the British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings. ref. no.: F.12116. p. 421

Sir James Emerson Tennent, 1st Baronet FRS (1804-1869) was a MP for Belfast, and friend of Charles Dickens; he was the dedicatee of Dickens’s last completed novel Our Mutual Friend. Tennent was appointed colonial secretary of Ceylon in 1845, remaining until 1850. His account of Ceylon proved so popular that five editions, variously revised, were published in eight months. It contains many aspects of Ceylon with chapters on the geology, climate, flora and fauna, history, religion, farming, commerce, the arts, science, Portuguese, Dutch and English, elephants, forest, and ruined cities. Sir Julian Goldsmid,3rd Baronet (1838 – 1896) was a British lawyer, businessman and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1866 and 1896.