Skip to product information
1 of 5

Briggs, The Cities of Gujarashtra, 1849.

Regular price
€3.250,00 EUR
Regular price
Sale price
€3.250,00 EUR

Bombay-printed description of Gujarat and beyond

Henry George Briggs (1824-1872). 

The Cities of Gujarashtra: their topography and history illustrated, in the journal of a recent tour; with accompanying documents.

Bombay, printed at the Times' Press, by James Chesson, 1849.


Folio (29x23,5 cm.). [14], 408, VIII, [2], IX-XXIV pp. Illustrated with several plans of palaces. 

Modern half cloth with red sides and gilt lettering on spine,  sprinkled edges. New endpapers.

First edition, printed at Bombay, of a very thorough, lengthy description of "Gujarashtra" (present-day Gujarat, India). One of the very few copies of this Bombay-printed first edition: WorldCat records only 1 copy, at University of Bradford.
Henry Briggs was born in Bombay, October 20, 1824. He traveled in South Africa in 1843, in China in 1845, and settled in Bombay in 1846 to work in the office of his father: Briggs & Co. Meanwhile he started writing about India. First he edited the Sindian (1854) and in 1855 the Sind Kossid. In 1856 he became assistant secretary at Bombay to the G.I.P. Railway. His first published book was the present Cities of Gujdrashtra, "containing curious information gleaned from travelers in India: of whose rare works he made an extensive collection" (Buckland). Next appeared The Parsis or Modern Zardushtians (1852) and The Nizam, his history and relations with the British government (1861), "a valuable work containing special information". He died in Bombay in July 4, 1872.
The Times' Press started printing books at Bombay with The Bombay Almanac from 1841 onwards. Printer James Chesson produced his first book there in 1845, titled Report upon the general condition of the province of Katteewar in 1842. Thus the present description of Gujarat was made in the early years of this publishing house that remained active well into the 20th century. In his foreword Briggs apologizes for the "infant condition of typography", which has "aided in retarding the appearance of the present portion in the time anticipated".
The work is dedicated to the Governor of Bombay: Lord Lucius Bentinck. Briggs provides a wealth of information derived from local people and travelers, who he met while travelling the area himself. In doing so he hoped to fill "The absence of such a volume for enquiry or reference relative to the province". He treats especially the major cities of the state: Surat, Cambay, Ahmedabad, Baroda and Baroch. The history of the Western colonial presence in West India is also discussed in great detail, giving much information about the places where they were active.
A valuable account.

Condition: owner's inscription on new free endpaper. Original endpaper detaching from title-page, causing a small tear. A few very small holes in the margins. A couple annotations in pencil and ink throughout. Minor browning to the pages. Otherwise in very good condition.

Reference: "Briggs, Henry George," in Dictionary of Indian Biography (p. 52), by C. E. Buckland, London: Swan Sonnenschein (1906).

Contact us to make reservation