SYMES, Michael (1761-1809)
An Account of an Embassy to the Kingdom of Ava
London: W. Bulmer and Co., 1800. 4to. (11 3/4 x 9 inches). xxiv, 504pp. 2 folding engraved maps, 25 engraved plates. Half-title.
Contemporary calf, spine with raised bands, marbled endpapers
Lovely copy of the large paper issue of the first edition of the best eighteenth-century account of Burma.
Symes's account is rich in topographical, historical and anecdotal detail. The first 288 pages provide a valuable historical account of the Ava Empire, and the final part of the work includes descriptions and illustrations of rare and curious plants. "One of the first detailed accounts of the country written in English. In just over 500 pages, it addressed the history, geography, culture, and economics of Burma" (ODNB).
Published at 2l. 2s in boards, contemporary advertisements reveal that a smaller number of copies were available in large paper, printed from the same setting of type as the smaller regular issue but in larger size and on better paper stock, at 3l. 3s. This a lovely example of the large-paper issue, in a contemporary binding.
Cordier, Indosinica 445; Howgego S200; Lowndes III, p. 2564.