Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Rare Persian Gulf gazetteer coming up in Cheltenham auction

Hugh Gordon Lorimer's 1908/1915 Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia is set to take the book world by storm in a unique appearance at auction – The Cotswold Auction Company's 29th September Books and Collectables Sale at Chapel Walk, Cheltenham.

No auction records exist and only one other copy is known in the British Library. Later republished in many volumes, the original work was a daunting endeavour – Lorimer printed the second volume in 1908, having failed to complete the table of contents and introduction to the first volume (which eventually numbered over 130 pages!) in his lifetime. The first volume was only published after Lorimer's death in 1914 by L Birdwood, who finished the work, in 1915.

This is the most important single source of historical material on the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, issued as a secret document by the British Government in India . It was compiled with the original intention of providing British agents and policymakers in the Gulf, India and London with "a convenient and portable handbook to the places and interests with which they are likely to be concerned". The first volume is historical with appendices, such as essays on Sailing Craft, Pearl Fisheries, Western Christianity, the Slave Trade in the Persian Gulf, Lord Curzon's Cruise and other subjects of interest... In addition there are twenty-one genealogical tables for the ruling families of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia. The second volume is a geographical dictionary listing tribes, towns and principalities and has 56 reproductions of photographs taken by British officers and others.

Books cataloguer Charlotte Seward said "This is such a rare opportunity to purchase the original work that we are challenged to place an accurate estimate – we have estimated £4000-£6000, but interest is mounting all the time and it could easily realise considerably more!"
These rare books can be viewed at the Chapel Walk Saleroom in Cheltenham during the View on Saturday 26 September 10 am to 1 pm or Monday 28 September 10 am to 6 pm or on the morning of sale from 9 am. The catalogue is online on www.cotswoldauction.co.uk and live online bidding can be accessed via www.the-saleroom.com.  For enquiries please telephone 01242-256363.

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