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Magnificent work containing more than 200 highly detailed illustrations of the Levant, Middle East and Asia

BRUYN, Cornelis de.
Reizen van Cornelis de Bruyn, door de vermaardste deelen van Klein Asia, de eylanden Scio, Rhodus, Cyprus, Metelino, Stanchio, &c. Mitsgaders de voornaamste steden van Aegypten, Syrien en Palestina.
Delft, Hendrik van Krooneveld, 1698. Large folio (ca. 38.5 x 25 cm). With an engraved frontispiece by J. Mulder, a full-page engraved portrait of the author by G. Valck, and ca. 215 numbered illustrations on 101 full-page and double-page plates (including 17 very large double-page folding plates, 6 illustrations lettered 1, 22A, 22B, 22C, A (again) and B, and 24 smaller illustrations in the text - of which 4 not part of the numbered sequence). Some of the plates are captioned, there does not seem to have been a systematic approach in adding the captions - all plates are as issued and as they appear in other copies. These plates mainly depict views and cityscapes. Contemporary mottled calf. [22], 397, [9] pp.
€ 12,500
First edition, printed on large paper, of De Bruyns journey through Egypt, Syria, the Holy Land, Rhodes, Cyprus, Scio, and Turkey. This beautifully illustrated copy in an attractive binding was the result of de Bruyns extensive travels through the Mediterranean and Middle East. The Reizen door de vermaardste Deelen van Klein Asia by the Dutch portrait painter and traveller Cornelis de Bruyn (1652- ca. 1727) ranks among the most excellent, accurate and detailed travel accounts to the Middle East of the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Starting in 1674, he departed from the Netherlands and travelled through the Levant, including Italy. He spent seven years in the Levant before settling in Italy in 1685 and eventually returning to the Netherlands in 1693. The value of this work lies in its engravings, which were created based on De Bruyn's drawings. These engravings include folding panoramas of cities such as Alexandria, Sattalia, Constantinople, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Rhodes, and Chios. His illustrations of the most important towns, landscapes and people stand out both in terms of accuracy and level of detail.
He also travelled to Egypt, where he climbed to the top of a pyramid and left his signature. De Bruyn secretly made drawings of Jerusalem, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. His drawings of Palmyra were copies. He continued his journey to Cyprus and stayed with Dutch merchants in Smyrna and Constantinople. From 1684 onward, he collaborated with painter Johann Carl Loth in Venice before returning to The Hague in 1693 to sell his souvenirs.
De Bruyn was both a skilled visual artist and knew how to write captivating prose. During his time in Rome, he joined the Bentveughels, a group of Dutch and Flemish painters where he received the nickname "Adonis". After spending two and a half years in Rome, he embarked on a journey to the Near East in 1677. His travels took him to various destinations including Turkey, several Greek islands, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Cyprus. In 1684, he travelled to Venice and spent eight years working alongside the German painter Carlo Loth. Finally, in 1693, he returned to The Hague and oversaw the publication the present work.
With two bookplates (of Dr. A.M. Ledeboer and the "Collectie Buijnsters-Smets") and a small label with a manuscript annotation ("met platen avant la lettre", incorrectly claiming the copy contains plates avant la lettre) on the front paste-down. With occasionally manuscript underlining of the text and a small near contemporary manuscript annotation in the margins (see for example leaf 73). A very good copy with joints professionally restored. Slightly foxed and browned throughout, some folds of the plates show minor fraying or very small, insignificant tears, the plate of Jerusalem comes from another copy. Otherwise in good condition. A remarkable illustrated work detailing 17th-century travel through Asia. Boucher de la Richarderie I, 245; Cat. NHSM 257; Howgego to 1800 B177; Lipperheide Ci48; Röhricht 1184; STCN 832277576; Tiele 207; WorldCat 31685072; cf. Blackmer 225 (French ed. of 1714).
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Related Subjects:

Africa  >  Central & West Africa | North Africa & Egypt
Asia  >  Central & West Asia
Cartography & exploration  >  Africa | Asia | Middle East & Islamic World | Voyages & Travel
Middle east & islamic world  >  Central & West Asia | Turkey & Ottoman Empire