BRASSEY, Anna ['Annie'], Lady BRASSEY. The Last Voyage. [to India and Australia, in the 'Sunbeam.', on half-title]. London, Longmans, Green, and Co., New York, 18 East 16th Street, 1889.
8vo. Original dark blue cloth with bevelled boards, lettered and ruled in gilt, top edge gilt; pp. xxiv, 490; lithographic frontispiece and title, 18 full-page lithographed plates, numerous wood-engraved illustrations by Edward Whymper and others, tinted lithogrphic headpieces in the text, 1 folding colour map of the author's route and 1 folding colour map of India; extremities of the binding a little worn, light offsetting to and from maps, otherwise a good copy.
Posthumously published first edition in the original solemn commemorative binding (as opposed to the other books by Lady Brassy, which all appeared in pictorial cloth). The final voyage of Lady Brassey and the Sunbeam, undertaken for the sake of her health. She died and was buried at sea on 14th September 1887. The present work was compiled from her journals by M.A. Broome and covers her journey from India to Labuan, Brunei, Borneo and the Celebes, on to Australia (which the Sunbeam circumnavigated) and then home following her death off the north-west coast of Australia. The first 200 pages cover India with Sri Lanka and the onward journey to the Phillipines. The following (roughly) 200 are on Australia, which the Sunbeam circumnavigated. This makes this work a major Australianum.
'The cruises of the Sunbeam may have resembled family picnics rather than voyages of discovery, but Annie Brassey, who inspired and organized them, is not to be denied the status of a true traveller. A poor sailor, never really well at sea, she dared all it could do to her, in order that she might visit the farthest corners of the earth. As her husband wrote, "the voyage would not have been undertaken and assuredly it would never have been completed without the impulse derived from her perseverance and determination" [Brassey, A voyage in the Sunbeam preface]' (ODNB).