Baghdad Sketches

STARK, Freya

PRESENTATION copy of Stark's first book

STARK, Freya Baghdad Sketches

The Times Press, 1932.

First edition. 8vo. Original red cloth with printed paper labels to the spine and upper cover. Author's presentation copy, inscribed by Stark to Elsie and Harry Sinderson on the front free endpaper "Elsie & Sinbad, most affectionately, Freya Stark". Twelve black and white plates after sketches by E.N.Prescott. A very good copy indeed, with just a little fading to the spine and trivial wear to the spine label, but an uncommonly well preserved copy of the author's scarce first book.

A fine presentation copy of Stark's first book. Elsie and Dr Harry Sinderson, the latter nicknamed Sinbad, were two of Stark's oldest and closest friends in Baghdad.
Their friendship and hospitality whenever Stark was in the city is well documented in her diaries, memoirs and letters home, introducing them as "the kindest people, who looked after the welfare, bodily spiritual and political, of the royal family and of anyone else who was in need of comfort or advice." (Beyond Euphrates)
The highest pitch of this friendship and hospitality came during the siege of the British Embassy during the 1941 rebellion. In spite of the fact that the Sindersons home was looted, Stark noted in her memoir "Dr. Sinderson Pasha['s], known to us all as 'Sinbad'... gallant cheerfulness sustained us all" (Dust In The Lions Paw).
More typically, and in times of peace, the Sindersons provided Stark with some of the home comforts absent in her travels. Recalling 1937 in The Coast Of Incense, Stark wrote "in April I was in Baghdad again, in the kind and happy Sinderson house, watching the Tigris rise day by day till its yellow earth-encumbered waves lapped at the sand-bag dykes that protected the city." They also were Stark's introduction to the Iraqi Royal Family, writing later that month that "Elsie Sinderson and I spent this morning visiting royalty... practically no one, except Elsie, is allowed to see the Queen."
Dr Sinderson served as personal physician to the royal household in Baghdad from 1918 to 1958 and founded the Baghdad Medical School. Stark wrote the foreword for his memoir Ten Thousand And One Nights in 1973, and said how, from dining with them on her first visit to Baghdad, "I recognised the goodness that surrounded them, as I have continued to feel it through the years - forty-two to be exact."
No more than 500 copies are thought to have been issued by The Times Press in Baghdad, the publishing arm of the Baghdad Times where most of the articles first appeared and it is acutely uncommon signed and in such nice condition.

Stock ID: 37142

£3,750.00

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