Maggs Bros Ltd

Antiquities of Kertch, and Researches in the Cimmerian Bosphorus; with Remarks on the Ethnological and Physical History of the Crimea.

MCPHERSON Duncan (1857.)

£950.00  [First Edition]

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First edition. Double-page lithograph frontispiece and engraved title, 12 plates (9 of these coloured lithographs) and 2 maps (coloured in outline). With 28 wood-engravings in the text (one of these being the vignette on the title page. Large 4to. Original blind embossed cloth with bright gilt lettering and vignette on upper board. Spine lettering dull, with tears to head and tail of spine. Some very minor spotting to a few of the plates, interior otherwise fine, with all edges gilt. xiv, (ii), 130pp. plus 2pp. list of subscribers and 4ads.pp. London, Smith, Elder,

Having trained in medicine at Edinburgh, Macpherson (1812-1867) joined the the army in Madras as a surgeon in 1836. He served with the 37th grenadier regiment in China during the First Opium War, before returning to India to work in the Hyderabad contingent. With the Crimean War came his appointment to “head of the medical staff of the Turkish contingent” (ODNB).  

While performing that role he travelled in the Kerch Peninsula, where he became interested in the wealth of antiquities present either side of the Cimmerian Bosphorus (today called the Kerch Strait). At around the same time in the mid 19th century, Russian-led archaeological digs in Kerch commenced, which began the process of unearthing the ancient city — its history stretching back to the 7th century BC, when Greek settlers chose Mount Mithridat as the site for the city-state Panticapaeum — that carries on today.  

After the war, Macpherson turned his notes into the present book, published in 1857. His text is complemented by particularly fine coloured lithographs, to which Abbey pays specific compliment: “An example of the degree of technical virtuosity reached by this time in lithography, giving plates brilliant in effect. It is very difficult to tell whether, or to what extent, the plates are touched by hand.”

Abbey Travel, 243; Blackmer 1055.

Stock Code: 207345