Unique book because of the antique hand-painted (Persian Lacquer) boards and provenance and history.
Very fine two-volume set previously owned by Sir Percy Cox, assistant to Lord Curzon. The covers and spines of each volume have been replaced by fine hand-painted Persian lacquer covers!! The Persian text on the covers has not been deciphered but they are probably from the 19th century or earlier.
The top edges have been heavily gilded.
Each volume with the beautiful bookplate of Sir Percy Cox, showing him in traditional English costume and himself dressed as an Arab, clearly demonstrating his affinity with the Arab world!! When Percy Cox was the head of the Geographic Society the North / South Pole areas and large parts of the Arabian peninsula were at the main focus of the Explorers of the time.
Cox worked for Curzon and together with the famous Arabist / traveler Gertrude Bell he played a key role in the founding of Iraq as a modern state.
The book in its own right (without the hand-painted boards) is already valuable and in mint condition, except for one of the boards being loose (because of the loose documents that had been inserted in the book)
This book was a present from Lady Ravensdale, the daughter of Curzon to Percy Cox. The occasion of the gift being a session of the Royal Geographic Society (of which Percy Cox was chairman) during which Lord Curzon was heavily criticized for supposedly inscribing his name on some key Persian monuments (next the signatures of several ancient explorers such as Niebuhr) Percy Cox, however defended Curzon during the RGS meeting. Ironically this whole debate had been tricked by an article by lady Ravensdale herself about her travels through Persia! When visiting the ruins of Persepolis she discovered the signature of her father Lord Curzon on one of the major monuments. However, in the article she said that she could not imagine her father doing such a thing..... This comment trickered several letters in the Times and even the ambassador of Iran got involved.
With the books belong some newspaper cuttings and a personal thank you note in a tiny envelope by Lady Ravensdale relating to the events in the RGS. (see photos above) The inserted papers have probably caused one of the boards to come loose.
Sir Percy Cox (1864-1937) to whom this copy belonged, was a soldier, administrator and diplomat active in the Persian Gulf, Persia, Iraq and Nejd (negotiating with Abdulaziz ibn Saud) He was also political agent in Oman and played an important role in defining many of the present days borders in the middle east.