Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, in the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773 - James Bruce of Kinnaird 1790 - Printed by J. Ruthven, Edinburgh - First Edition A superior set of the first edition, one of the great annals of travel and explorations in Africa, a cornerstone of any collection of Africana. In addition to the three large folding copper-engraved maps, there are fifty-eight copper-engraved plates (four of which are maps or battle plans) and seven pages of Ethiopic language.

A Scotsman with ability and education, James Bruce, 1730-1794, was appointed the English consul to Algiers, serving for two years before resigning to roam North Africa investigating architectural ruins. Following this preparation, he set off to fulfil his great ambition, to discover the source of the Nile. His travels into Abyssinia, a remarkable solo undertaking, resulted in the present body of work which not only includes the narrative of his travels but also comments on the history and religion of Egypt, an account of Indian trade, a history of Abyssinia and other such material.

The DNB notes that while Bruce would not be confused with "a great scholar or a judicious critic..., few books of equal compass are equally entertaining; and few such monuments exist of the energy and enterprise of a single traveller." The many engraved plates are finely executed, and present primarily the flora and fauna encountered by Bruce on his travels.
  Quarto, five volumes (binding size 30.3x24.9cm), pp. [12] lxxxiii [3] 535 [1]; [4] viii 718; [4] viii 759 [1]; [4] viii, 695 [1]; [4] xiv 230 [9 (Index)] [2 (Errata)].

Collated [lj 25/9/2020] - All with engraved vignette to title page. Vol I. 8 plates, 7 pages of Ethiopic language; Vol III 3 plates, 1 plan; Vol IV 3 battle plans; Vol V 24 plants, 6 beasts, 8 birds, 5 reptiles, fish etc., 3 folding maps.
  Finely bound in quarter tan calf over marble boards, spines with raised bands ruled in gilt, red morocco spine labels lettered in gilt, densely speckled edges, new endpapers, half-titles bound in.   Condition: Fine in fine bindings with just a little rubbing to the spines, a superior set.   Ref: 110407   Price: HK$ 50,000