SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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EYRE, Lieut. Vincent.
Portraits of the Cabul Prisoners.

Conflict in Afghanistan resulted essentially from rivalry between Britain and Russia over control of Central Asia, and the perceived threat to British dominion over India, its most important colony. Britain aimed to overthrow the Amir of Kabul, Dost Mohmmad Khan who had been negotiating with the Russians. In April 1839 British East India Company forces under Major General Sir William Elphinstone entered Kandahar, and Shujah Durrani was proclaimed shah. The Afghan peoples would countenance neither foreign occupation nor an imposed ruler, and rebellions resulted.

London, ca. 1844
Not in Abbey; Bobins I 240.
London, ca. 1844

Oblong octavo (270 x 220mm). Original moire cloth portfolio, title label gilt lettered on black Russia on upper board, edges of portfolio restored in green cloth, a little soiled and worn. In a modern folding box. 32 lithographic plates coloured by hand and mounted on card, each plate (lightly) titled by hand in ink (marginal water stains to outer margins of a few card mounts). A very rare set of portraits finely lithographed and hand-coloured; portraits of British prisoners by Eyre, over one hundred of whom were taken by Wazir Akber Khan as the British retreated from Kabul during the First Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1842). Eyre arrived in India in 1829. While serving as a commissary of ordnance in Afghanistan, he and his family were taken prisoner by Khan's forces in January 1842, and spent almost nine months in captivity. During this time he kept a diary and made portraits of his fellow prisoners. The captives were rescued in September 1842 when Major-General Sir George Pollock's Army of Retribution entered Kabul. Coloured plates in order: 1. Prince Futty Jung [sic], [Prince Fateh Jang] 2. Slualo Sluya al Amook? 3. Lieut. V. Eyre. 4. Mahomed Akber Khan. 5. The late Sir William Hay Macnaghten. 6. The late Sir Alexander Burnes. 7. Lady Sale. 8. Major E. Pottinger. 9. Mrs Eyre. 10. Mrs Walker. 11. Major Charles Griffiths. 12. The late Captain J. Skinner? 13. Captain Laurence. 14. Captain Anderson. 15. Captain Colin MacKenzie. 16. Captain Johnson. 17. Captain Boyd. 18. Captain Bygrave. 19. Captain Troup. 20. Captain Airey. 21. Captain Conolly. 22. Lieut. Waller. 23. Lieut. Haughton. 24. Lieut. H.B. Melville. 25. Lieut. G. Mein 26. Prison Scene. 27. Alexanders Column near Cabul. 28. The fort in which General Elphinstone died. 29. Prison at Theivukkee? 30. Male figure at Bamiyan 31. Female figure at Bamiyan 32. Caves at Bamiyan.