Historical Records of teh Survey of India. 4 volume set of 1st editions.


Phillimore, Colonel R. H., C.I.E., D.S.O. [compiler]: Historical Records of the Survey of India. Published by Order of The Surveyor General of India [Dehra Dun] 1945 to 1958 4 volumes 4to ]11¾ x 8½ins]

These four volumes provide effectively the complete set. Although a volume 5 was produced it was quickly withdrawn by the Indian Government for political reasons and it is thought that only a handful of original copies survive although photocopies occasionally appear. The four volumes were produced over a long period and span the period of independence, III & IV being produced after 1948 and thus lacking the crown from the Survey of India badge on the front covers. Vol I 18th Century [pub. 1945]: Maps to endpapers, 19 other plates including folding maps (some coloured), xx.400pp, 16pp unnumbered index. An excellent copy in the original green cloth gilt, the upper board gilt blocked with the badge of the Survey of India, very minor wear at extremiites, internally very clean. Vol II 1800-1815 [pub. 1950]: maps to endpapers, 22 other plates (some coloured, some folding maps), xxvii (including addenda & corrigenda for vol I), 478pp. bound as vol 1 [including the imperial crown on the badge despite a post independence date – the Survey is still rather traditional], very minor wear to extremities, internally very clean. Vol III 1815 to 1830 [pub. 1954], maps to endpapers, 22 other plates [some folding maps, some coloured), xxii (including addenda & corrigendas to vols I & II), 534pp. Bound as the previous vols but the badge on the front board has the imperial crown replaced with the current Indian crest joined triple lions, very minor wear to extremities, internally very clean. Vol IV 1830 to 1843 GEORGE EVEREST [pub, 1958] maps to endpapers, 19 other plates (some folding maps, some coloured), xviii including addenda & corrigenda to previous volumes), 493pp.I, a little damage with small loss of cloth surface to extreme top corners of front and back boards, internally very clean. Volumes 1, 2 & 3 have a small ownership signature to the top corner of the front free endpaper – no other ownership markings. The first four volumes were published over a 15 year period: they are seldom found together and the fifth volume was suppressed by the Government of India. The definitive work on the Survey of India and earlier cartographers. In the first volume Surveys are dealt with logically by province and there are informative chapters on surveying instruments. There is a 100pp section of detailed biographies of such important figures in Indian map making as Rennell, Beatson, Dalrymple, Orme, Kelly, Martin, Pearse, Reynolds, Topping, Turner, Wood, and Mackenzie. Chapter V Beyond the Barriers deals with early attempts at mapping in the Himalayas, Tibet (a folding map of Ladakh to Lhasa from the Lamas’ map of 1733 is included), sources of the Ganges & Gogra, Bogle & Turner, Nepal, Assam, Welsh’s Expedition 1792-4, Eastern Frontier, Burma. Other chapters include General Narrative, Bengal Surveys (3 chapters, 1579-1777, 1777-94, 1793-1800), Madras Surveys (2 chapters – to 1788 and 1788-1800), Bombay Surveys, Revenue Surveys, Professional Methods of Survey, Maps of India, Maps of Bengal, Maps of Madras & Bombay, Map construction and preservation, The Surveyor Generals, Surveyors. Whereas Vol I has much on Bengal, Madras and Bombay, Vol II extends to include chapters on Upper Provinces and Oudh, the North West Frontier, Himalaya Mountains, etc . There is a good deal here on Lambton and his Survey. There are 80pp of biographical notes on surveyors of the period. Vol III continues the narrative and has additional chapters on Mountain Provinces, North East Frontier, Burma, Again there about 80pp of biography. Vol IV continues the narrative and the expanding work of the surveys (especially the detailed revenue surveys on which the Company was so dependent). It covers the long period of office of George Everest as Surveyor General but there are biographies of other surveyors too.       feb2/4

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