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one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century

(SUEZ CANAL). Collection of five items relating to the construction of the Suez Canal

Various places, 1855-1887

Five items. Original and contemporary bindings. Excellent condition.

The construction of the Suez Canal was one of the great engineering and commercial feats of the 19th century. In the 1850s Ferdinand de Lesseps obtained permission from the Viceroy of Egypt to construct a canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez. The work, which began in 1859, involved 1.5 million workers and claimed more than 100,000 lives. Finally, in November 1869, the Suez Canal officially opened. It reduced the journey from the Arabian Sea to London by more than 5000 miles.

The collection comprises:

1. Lesseps, Ferdinand de. Percement de l’isthme de Suez Expose et documents officiels. Paris: Plon, 1855. (ix), 280, (1) pp. Folding map. Contemporary  quarter green cloth and marbled boards. First edition. “In this treatise of nearly three hundred pages, with maps – ‘The Piercing of the Isthmus of Suez’ – de Lesseps set out the whole case for the canal and his proposed method of building it” (Printing and the Mind of Man 339). En Français dans le Texte, 274.

2. Actes Constitutifs de la Compagnie Universelle du Suez Canal. Paris: Plon, 1866. 147, (1) pp. 5 large folding color plans and maps. Original wrappers, untrimmed. Fine. A splendid survival in original wrappers and with 5 large folding plans and maps.

3. Statuts de la Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez. Paris: Plon, n.d. [1860s]. 4 pp.

4. Arnoux, Hippolyte. Album du Canal du Suez. Port-Said, c. 1870. Original maroon cloth, 12 albumen photographs mounted accordion-style. This splendid album contains 12 original mounted albumen photographs  (4 x 5 ½ in.) documenting the the canal.

5. Lesseps, Ferdinand de. Souvenirs de Quarante Ans. Paris: Nouvelle Revue, 1887. 549; 768 pp. Two volumes. Contemporary half black leather. First edition of Lesseps’s memoir.