HELL, Xavier Hommaire de. Travels in the Steppes of the Caspian Sea, the Crimea, the Caucasus, &c. London, Chapman and Hall, 1847.
8vo. Original purple pebble-grained cloth, lettered and ornamented in gilt, all edges gilt; pp. viii, 436, steel-engraved frontispiece, retaining tissue guard; hinges reinforced, light wear to extremities, light offsetting from endpapers; otherwise very good with school prize inscription to front free endpaper.
First English edition, the rare issue with frontispiece. What had been planned as a geological expedition turned into an ethnographic and sociological reconnaissance tour of Southern Russia and adjacent provinces. Ignace Xavier Morand Hommaire de Hell, an engineer who had built a suspension bridge in Istanbul and a lighthouse on the Black Sea coast for the Ottoman Empire travelled with his wife Adèle Hériot, who contributed much to the narrative. A few years after Astolphe de Custine's sensational report on Russia had been smuggled out, Hommaire de Hell states that 'Our work is published under no man's patronage; we have kept ourselves independent of all extraneous influence; and in frankly pointing out what struck us as faulty in the social institutions of the Muscovite empire, we think we evince our gratitude for the hospitable treatment we received in Russia ...' (preface).
Atabey 592 (without frontispiece); not in Blackmer.