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Book Details

WOOD (Robert). The Ruins of Palmyra, otherwise Tedmor, in the Desart [sic Desert].1753

London: [Published for the Author], First edition, large folio (570 x 380 mm), [6], 50pp., printed in thick paper, the text is followed by 59 etched and engraved plates, the first plate consists of three coppers, forming together a panoramic view of the ruins (sometimes found pasted together and folded), 3 full-page etched and engraved reproductions of inscriptions with letterpress on the verso, some occasional spotting and age-toning but in general a good clean copy, professionally rebound to the highest standard in a period binding of full calf, Greek-key gilt roll border to both boards, gilt hatching to edges, spine divided into ten compartments, the second with a red leather lettering-piece, other superbly tooled in gilt, all edges uncut, a very handsome tall paper copy. Robert Wood (1717?-1771), traveller, author and politician, born at Riverstown Castle near Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland. In the year 1751 he made the tour of Greece, Egypt, and Palestine, in company with James Dawkins and John Bouverie, along with their Italian draughtsman Giovanni Borra. In the preface Wood recounts they visited 'most of the islands of the Archipelago, part of Greece in Europe, the Asiatic and Bosphorus, as far as the Black Sea, most of the inland parts of Asia Minor, Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine, and Egypt'. Five days were spent in Palmyra making drawings, measurements and written descriptions of the ruins. On their return to England Wood began compiling this work which was to set a new standard for archaeological accuracy, with exact records of the appearance and dimensions of the buildings seen. The book contributed greatly to the eighteenth-century taste for Greek architecture and decoration, the lavish plates range from carefully measured sketches of architectural details to panoramic views of the site as a whole. Provenance: William Bagot, 1st Baron Bagot (1728–1798), his signature a library press-mark to front paste-down. RIBA 3707; Harris, 939; Fowler, 443; Millard, 92.

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