First Afghan War. Fine group of three volumes with important provenance


Eyre, Lieut Vincent, Bengal Artillery, Late Deputy Commissary of Ordinance at Cabul: THE MILITARY OPERATIONS AT CABUL, which ended in the Retreat and Destruction of the British Army, January 1842. With a Journal of Imprisonment in Affghanistan. John Murray [London] 1843. 8vo, Third Edition [same year as first]. Folding coloured plan of the Cantonment with surrounding district of Cabul, xx, 330pp, [iv publisher’s list]. Fine contemporary full polished tree calf, spine elaborately gilt in compartments with raised bands and red title label gilt, rear board with a seeming fault in the leather but otherwise in excellent bright condition. The top of the title page has very faded inscription B B Haydn above a date which is probably 1844  [his signature also appears with a marginal comment on p 113]. The page facing the title has an old presentation inscription in ink From W. S. Trevor, Major Genl  R.E. V.C. One of the captive children. To his daughter Florence – 14th Novr. 1903. A further note tipped to this page and in the General’s hand reads: The name Trevor occurs on the following 28 Pages of this work 11, 23, 24, 25, 44, 112, 123,136, 139, 152, 155, 158, 159, 163, 166, 168, 169, 170, 173, 175, 176, 177, 241, 318, 324. A very attractive association copy: the map was uncoloured in the first edition.       dec10/1

Together with:

PORTRAITS OF THE CABUL PRISONERS. No printing details but presumed to be John Murray 1843. 8vo.

A 2 page introduction after the title page, dated Athenaeum Club, 1st May 1843, explains that the Editor “has been led to think that the sketches here offered to the public may be extensively acceptable as illustrations of the work which has been already so favourably received.” Two portraits appear before the title page [Lieut Vincent Eyre & Shah Shuja Ool Mulk]. These and the title page and all other illustrations are printed on card from drawings mainly by Eyre. There are 30 further lithographed plates comprising: Prince Futty Jung, Sir Wm Hay Macnaghten, Sir Alexander Burnes, Mahomed Akber Khan, Lady Sale, Major Eldred Pottinger, Mrs Eyre, Mrs Waller, Major Chas Griffiths, Capt James Skinner, Capt Lawrence, Capt Anderson, Capt Colin Mackenzie, Capt Johnson, Capt Boyd, Capt B Bygrave, Capt Troop, Capt J B Conolly, Lieut Waller, Lieut Haughton, Lieut H B Melville, Lieut C Mein, Male Figure at Bameean, Alexander’s Column near Cabul, the Fort in which Gen Elphinstone died, Prison at Shewukkee, Bameean Figure, Caves at Bameean. The last plate is folding and strengthened on the verso with old tape. Some of the plate titles have been affected by over trimming by the binder and two have contemporary titles added in pencil. Full polished tree calf gilt matching the previous book with the same gilt tooling and the same fault but this time to the front board, some loss of gilt to the bottom compartment of the spine, internally very clean with all plates retaining tissue guards.  There are quite lengthy newspaper cuttings about General Trevor tipped to blanks at the front of the book, one marked in pencil Cuttings from Lloyd’s Weekly News of 8th Oct 1905, and a three page letter signed from Edith Eyre [wife of Vincent Eyre tipped to the verso of the portrait of Lieut Eyre [the first in the book]. The letter, concerning an alteration required in printing, is marked on the verso of the last of the four leaves Rec’d E Eyre 11 July 1843.

These portraits and prints are more often found in extra illustrated copies of Lady Sale’s & Sir Vincent Eyre’s books and this is a particularly smart set with the additional interest of the provenance.

Togther with

 Sale, Lady: A JOURNAL OF THE DISASTERS IN AFFGHANISTAN, 1841-2. John Murray [London] 1843 8vo. 7th Thousand [same year as 1st edition].

Single page sketch map, folding plan of the cantonment at Cabul. xvi, 451pp, [xii – Mr Murray’s Recent Publications]. Contemporary full polished tree calf gilt, the spine richly gilt in compartments with raised bands and black title label gilt, original marbled endpapers, a very clean, bright, and attractive copy in a fine binding with only minor rubbing at extremities, all edges marbled. This copy belonged to Maj Gen Wm Spottiswoode Trevor, V.C. [1831 – 1907], who had survived Kabul in 1842 as a child after his father Capt Trevor was murdered with Sir Wm Macnaghten. The blank before the title bears a presentation inscription in his hand From William to Mildred. Both children of the Captivity Trevor family and beneath that a further inscription reads From Mother to Edith, 3rd Nov 1904. A previous free blank has two old newspaper cuttings, one identifying the general as the last survivor of the captivity at Kabul.

A particularly desirable association copy. Although using a different centre tool to the spine this is clearly bound by the same binder as the pair of books above by Eyre. The three volumes are sold with a modern book case in which they have been safely housed in recent years,

Major General William Spottiswoode Trevor [1831-1907], Royal (Bengal) Engineers was the second son of Captain Robert Salusbury Trevor of the 3rd Bengal Cavalry and his wife Mary, daughter of Wm Spottiswoode, Laird of Gelnfernate, Perthshire. Capt Trevor was one of the three murdered with Sir Wm Hay Macnaghten at Kabul in 1841. He, with seven siblings and his mother were held captive by Akbar Khan. After their release William was educated at Edinburgh Academy & Addiscombe before being commissioned into the Bengal Engineers in 1849, Serving in Burma [wounded, mentioned by the Govt], Pegu, Bhutan, as garrison engineer at Fort William, in the Bhutan War where received his Victoria Cross and was five times wounded. He was later Chief Engineer in Central India and in Burma. It appears that his was the only Victoria Cross awarded in the Bhutan War. There is a long entry for him in Creagh & Humphris The V.C. and D.S.O. Vol 1.

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