Proof Copy of an Important Color Plate Book

Schomburgk, Robert Hermann. Proof Copy. Twelve Views of the Interior of Guiana: From Drawings by Mr. Charles Bentley After Sketches Taken During the Expedition, Carried on in the Years 1835 to 1839...

London: Ackermann and Co., 1841. 570 by 390mm (221⁄2 by 151⁄4 inches). Tall folio; [8], 38 pp. With an added color lithographed title, letter-press title, dedication leaf with the arms of the Duke of Devonshire printed in gold, engraved full-page map, and 12 very fine colored lithographed plates with views of the interior of Guiana, many with images of Guiana’s tribes. Original publisher’s full dark green cloth, title gilt stamped within an ornamental frame on front cover. Two of the twelve plates do not have their corresponding tissue guard. Neatly rebacked in dark green cloth, so similar to the original that you need to look closely to see it. The first view a bit rubbed at the outer edge. A few of the views with light marginal foxing.


Schomburgk (1804–1865) was a German-born explorer for Great Britain known for his geographical and botanical studies in South America and the West Indies. As a young man, he started his career in the United States where he eventually became a partner in a tobacco processor in Virginia. After the factory burned down, he moved to the Virgin Isles, where he was entrusted by the Royal Geographical Society (London) to conduct an expedition exploring Guiana. This mission occurred 1835–1839 with such great success that he was awarded the Royal Geographical Society Gold Medal for his scientific work. Schomburgk suggested a border between Venezuela and Guiana and surveyed a division, later named the Schomburgk line. The British government used his explorations as arguments in the boundary dispute with Brazil. Schomburgk based his recommendations to Britain on his encounters with the Brazilian enslavement of Guiana’s tribes.

Unique Proof Copy

A very beautiful and expensive production (4 guineas for a colored copy in 1841), sold by subscription. This copy very likely unique (and certainly no other copy like it on the market nor in known auction records). The title is printed with PROOF COPY” at the top left, presumably produced to check the plates and binding, and thus was not published with the leaf of subscribers found in the copies delivered to actual subscribers of the plates. Additionally, this copy in original full cloth is a variant. The book was generally sold in completely different boards: either lithographed or in morocco over marbled boards. The lovely large colored plates include: a map of Guiana, the giant Victoria Regia water lily, the Comuti or Taquiare Rock, River Essequibo, Ataraipu or the Devil’s Rock, Pirara and Lake Amucu, etcetera. Borba de Moraes pg. 242 states This album is quite rare.”

A unique opportunity to acquire a unique copy of an important color plate book.


In stock

Stock Code: 1266B19 Collections: ,


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