Traveller’s Prelude, Beyond Euphrates, The Coast of Incense, Dust in the Lion's Paw - Freya Stark 1950 - John Murray, London - First Editions A complete four volume first edition set of the autobiographies by the ‘Grande Old Lady’ of travellers, the intrepid and pioneering Freya Stark (1893-1993).

Dame Freya Stark’s “figure has become the image for an archetypal British eccentric abroad – comfortable and regal, colourfully draped, and invariably topped with an elaborate titfer, perhaps astride a camel (’always so obliging’) or bobbing up-river on an inflated goatskin waving serenely to passers-by – but there is a far more serious side to her career. In all her journeys she has been able to distil and communicate a rich philosophy of travel and to illustrate the art of travelling in time as well as place. She carries the past with her, whether discovering long-buried fortresses in the Valley of the Assassins in Luristan, or tracing the footsteps of the ancient incense traders of Arabia, always teaching and learning at the same time. She is, quite simply, a classic.” - Jane Robinson,
Wayward Women.
  Born in Paris in 1893 to Italian and English parents, and brought up in Devon and the Veneto, Freya Stark’s travels through the Middle East and Asia were inspired by a copy of ‘One thousand and one nights’, which she was given for her ninth birthday. Her journeys took her from Syria, Lebanon, and Persia, to Afghanistan, Nepal, and China. She also worked as a journalist in Baghdad in the early 1930s. She has remained a significant personage of women’s exploration and travel history.

References: Robinson
Wayward Women 29.

Provenance: Dust in the Lion’s Paw - Grizel Bonde (nee Grizel Anstruther-Thompson) niece of Clementina Anstruther-Thomson, and later her daughter-in-law Aurora Carlien (1944-2007).

All first editions, in first edition dust jackets, ‘
Coast if Incense’’ in publisher’s first state binding of green cloth with with author’s signature blocked in gilt to front board, top edge trimmed others untrimmed (there exists a second state binding of green paper covered boards, without the author’s signature blocked in gilt to front board, and with only the bottom edge left untrimmed, text block itself is identical to the first state including the words ‘First Edition ... 1953’ with no further editions or printings listed to verso of title page).

Octavo (book size 22.8 x 15.2 cm (Lion’s Paw slightly taller at 23.3 cm)) pp. xii [2] 346; xiii [3] 341 [3]; xiii [3] 287 [1]; xii 297 [3]. In publisher’s green cloth, lettered in gilt to spine and with author’s signature blocked in gilt to front board, top edge tinted green. Dust jacket priced 18s, 25s, 25s, and 25s to lower corner of front flaps.
  Condition: All fine copies in near fine do fine dust jackets, a hint of toning to some spines, light wear to one or two corners and spine ends.   Ref: 106282   Price: HK$ 4,500