THE LAND AND THE BOOK, or 'Biblical Illlustrations drawn from the Customs and Scenes of the Holy Land', by W.M. THOMSON [William McClure Thomson] published by T. NELSON AND SONS, London 1898. Magnificent edition.
Thomson's famous work, considered one of the most important written on the Holy Land in the 19th century. Accompanied by color lithographic plates depicting landscapes and sites in the Holy Land, and dozens of illustrations in the text of people in oriental dress, landscapes, animals and Middle Eastern flora alongside descriptions, and a folded color map of Eretz Israel (46x46 cm). Author William McClure Thomson, an American who lived nearly half a century in Lebanon and the Holy Land, described in detail and precision the elements comprising the Middle Eastern landscape. Due to the long period Thomson spent in the Levant he came to know Eretz Israel well. Ernest Renan, one of the foremost scholars of the East, noted Thomson undertook more tours in the country than any researcher of his time. Due to his knowledge of local languages, Thomson served as translator for biblical scholars who visited the area. In 1852 he accompanied Edward Robinson, one of the founders of Biblical archaeology, on his second trip to Eretz Israel. Throughout his residence in the region Thomson bore witness to harsh events up close. In 1837 he arrived in Safed just two weeks after the devastating earthquake, accompanying a doctor to provide aid to victims. Thomson's detailed report on the disaster garnered much publication and was copied in numerous books.
The book achieved an unprecedented widespread global circulation. It appeared in the second half of the 19th century in various editions in America and England (with changes and additions between editions). Generally accepted as the most widely distributed book after "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (third after the Bible). The book is organized as a travel journal wherein Thomson guides his companion and answers his questions while accompanying him southwards along the length of Eretz Israel - the journey concluding in Jerusalem. The book is filled with illustrations that were made into engravings based on paintings collected from various sources including those of Bartlett, David Roberts and Carl Van de Velde. Thomson believed the Holy Land could not be understood without the Bible and the Bible not without the land. The book aimed to demonstrate to readers Biblical scripture through observation of people, customs, nature and settlements of the present-day Holy Land.
XVII,  map + 718 p.  lithographic plates. 20 cm. Nice copy. Original leather cover with gilt embossing. Gilt leaf cutting. Raised spine bands. Slight wear on the cover. Very good condition.