BERNOULLI, Jean. Description historique et géographique de l’Inde, qui présente en trois volumes, enrichis de 64 cartes et autres planches : 1. La Géographie de l’Indoustan par le Père Joseph Tieffenthaler… 2. Des Recherches historiques & chronologiques sur l’Inde, & la Description du Cours du Gange & du Gagra par M. Anquetil Du Perron…3. La Carte générale de l’Inde… Berlin, de l’Imprimerie de Chrétien Sigismond Spener, 1786-1789.
3 parts in 3 volumes 4to [274 x 218 mm] of: I/ xxxvi pp., (4), 516, 21 folding plates and 18 full-page plates; II/ (8) pp., xvi, lxii, (6) pp., pp. 1 to 259, (13) pp., pp. 262 to 596, 10 full-page plates and 5 folding plates; III/ (8) pp., lxxxiv, 256, viii, (4), 240, 16, 4 full-page plates and 13 folding plates. Tear in a map without loss. Bound in full stiff vellum, spines ribbed and decorated with gilt fleurons, red morocco lettering pieces, red edges. Contemporary Italian bindings.
Rare first edition of this fascinating description of India at a time when relations between Europe and India were not very developed yet. Sommervogel, VIII, 22; Brunet, I, 803.
« Jean Bernoulli (1744-1807) is a German astronomer that dedicated himself only to astronomy, mathematics and philosophy. He was only nineteen when he was called as an astronomer to the Berlin Academy, where he was appointed head of the mathematics class, when he returned in 1779 from his long trips in Germany, England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Poland, etc. » (Biographie générale, V, 645).
« Tieffenthaler entered in the company of Jesus and his superiors dedicated him to the missions. He went boarding in Portugal, for India, in 1743. As many of his fellow members sent to these distant countries to carry the torch of faith, while he was working on getting people to learn about the Gospel, he carried on researches that may be useful for sciences and arts… Of all of his writings, we only have those about geography. They were published by Jean Bernoulli under the title of ‘Description historique et géographique de l’Inde’, Berlin, 1786; it is enriched with notes and remarks, and with the works of Anquetil du Perron and major Rennel; it also contains maps. Thieffenthaler didn’t come back to Europe. He was still alive in 1786, and was located in Agra at that time ». (F.-X. de Feller, Dictionnaire historique, p. 474).
« The names, most of them famous, of the authors of this ‘description’ certify its credit. One of the most precious parts of the work, a little bit prolix, of the Jesuit missionary scientist Tieffenthaler, are the notions he gives us about the Sikhs’ nation, one of the four great current powers of Hindustan […] As connections of the Europeans with this nation are not very extended, we only have a very inaccurate idea of their customs. From the relation of Tieffenthaler, it results that their government seems to take after the feudal system, that their religious institutions are very simple, and that they are governed by their habits more than actual laws ». (Boucher de La Richarderie, Bibliothèque universelle des voyages, pp. 40-42).
The abundant illustration is composed of 71 plates including 39 folding, engraved from the original drawings of Father Tieffenthaler. They represent all the places described by the authors, with views of cities and monuments, detailed maps and plans.
A beautiful and precious copy, especially fresh and wide-margined, printed on large paper, preserved in its contemporary Italian vellum bindings.
Only one copy of this fine work has been recorded on the international public market since the beginning of the reports in 1970.
Provenance: exlibris Francesco Rizzo Patarol.