Albemarle Street, London: John Murray, 1821. 1st Edition. Hardcover. George Francis Lyon (1795 - 1832) was an Arctic and African explorer. In 1818, he was sent with Joseph Ritchie by Sir John Barrow to find the course of the Niger River and the location of Timbuktu. A year later they had only got as far as Murzouk where they both fell ill. Ritchie never recovered and died there, but Lyon survived and traveled further around the region. A year after he left, he arrived back in Tripoli, the expedition being a complete failure. This book recounts details of that expedition.
Upon return, he was promoted and in 1821 - the same year this book was published - given the command of HMS Hecla on his second attempt. Lyon was reputed to have genuine informed interest in the culture and inhabitants of the lands he visited. Wearing Arab/Muslim dress and learning fluent Arabic he managed to blend in with the inhabitants of North Africa. In the Arctic, he was tattooed by the Inuit and ate raw caribou and seal meat with them. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1827.
This volume features the original half leather binding over marbled boards with leather corners, marbled page edges, and marbled endpapers. The contents are superior - clean and bright with only light intermittent spotting. The large folding map and all 17 hand-colored plates are present. The only previous ownership marking are some collector notes in pencil on the ffep and a stamp stating "Withdrawn" from "The James Humphreys Collection" on the title page verso. The original binding is preserved, but considerably worn at the edges. The hinges are split and bear a crude leather overlay reinforcement at the top and bottom of the spine, which keeps the boards attached to the binding. Item #003945