ATKINSON, Thomas Witlam. Oriental and Western Siberia: A Narrative of Seven Years' Explorations and Adventures in Siberia, Mongolia, the Kirghis Steppes, Chinese Tartary, and Part of Central Asia. London, Hurst and Blackett 1858.
8vo. Original publisher's green blind- and gilt-stamped cloth; pp. viii, , 611]; smaller-format, 2-page publisher's advertisement inserted at the end; chromolithographic frontispiece by E. Walker after Atkinson, printed by Day & Son and finished by hand, 3 chromolithographic plates by Walker and 16 tinted lithographic plates by J. Needham, all after Atkinson and printed by Day & Son and finished by hand, all with tissue guards, folding lithographic map by J. Netherclift Senior, with Atkinson's route added by hand in red, wood-engraved illustrations in the text; very light wear and marking to cloth, inner hinges strengthened, initial spotting due to offsetting from endpapers and frontispiece, plates a little spotted (as usual), otherwise a very good copy with 19th-century bookplate and ownership inscription inside front cover.
First edition. The architect and artist Atkinson (1799-1861) practised as an architect in London and the north of England, before travelling to Hamburg in the early 1840s to enter a competition to design a new church. Although he was unsuccessful in this, Atkinson was inspired by Alexander von Humboldt's account of his travels in Siberia to journey to St Petersburg: 'there, in 1846, he abandoned architecture as a profession for the pursuits of an explorer and topographical artist. Between March and November 1847 he travelled to the Urals, the Kirgiz steppes, and Altai Mountains. He then returned to Moscow and on 18 February 1848OS married Lucy Sherrard Finley [...] a governess, with whom he had a son, Alatau Tamchiboulac (b. 4 Nov 1848) [...] Between 1848 and 1853 he travelled extensively in the Russian orient [under the protection of a blank passport, granted by Czar Nicholas I], gathering much geographical and geological information. During this time he produced over 500 watercolours of the landscapes and peoples, some of them 5 or 6 feet square. He wintered in Irkutsk and Barnaul. After his return to Britain, an exhibition of Atkinson's Siberian and Chinese Tartar scenes was held in 1856 at Colnaghi's Gallery, London. Some of these were lithographed and published in his narratives of his travels: Oriental and western Siberia [...] (1858); and Travels in the regions of the upper and lower Amoor and the Russian acquisitions on the confines of India and China (1860)' (ODNB).
Abbey, Travel, 530; Bibliothéque Impériale Publique de St.-Pétersbourg, Catalogue de la section des Russica, A-1055; Cordier, Sinica, 2781; Yakushi (3rd ed.) A293. See .