Early British Traveller in Mexico, With an Emphasis on Mines & Mining

First Detailed Description in English of La Quemada

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229. LYON, G[eorge] F[rancis]. Journal of a Residence and Tour in the Republic of Mexico in the Year 1826. With Some Account of the Mines of that Country. By Capt. G.F. Lyon, R.N. F.R.S. In Two Volumes.... London: John Murray, Albemarle Street, [versos of titles: Printed by Richard Taylor, Red Lion Court Fleet Street], 1828. Vol. I: [i-iii] iv-viii, [1] 2-323, [1, ad]; Vol. II: [i-iii] iv, [1] 2-304 pp., a few wood engraved text illustrations. 2 vols., 8vo (18.5 x 11.5 cm) , late nineteenth-century three-quarter polished green sheep over tan marbled boards, title gilt-lettered on spines, along with initials G.G.L. Light shelf wear to marbled boards, later endpapers, hinges of both vols. split (but holding very strong), text trimmed when bound. Scattered moderate foxing to both vols. (heavier on prelims and terminals), otherwise very good.

     First edition. Griffin 3561: “His journal provides a wealth of detail on mining and mining revenues as well as sophisticated observations on general social and economic conditions.” Gunn 894. Hill, p. 186. Hill II:1056. Palau 144402. Porrúa Catalogue 5 (1949) 7412 (noting the importance of the book for matters on Mexican mining). Sabin 42852. Lyon (1795-1832), commissioner for the British-owned Real de Monte and Bolanos Mining Companies, was among the early British travellers to Mexico after independence. He travelled from Tampico to Zacatecas and Jalisco to inspect the mining properties, then returned via Mexico City and Vera Cruz. Spending eight months in Mexico, he gives one of the best and most unbiased pictures of Mexican life at all social levels, including a valuable early description of the Huichol Indians and much detail on mines and mining processes and a glossary of Mexican mining terms (pp. 297-304). Lyon also provides descriptions of the grand old haciendas and ranchos. On pages 225-245 of Vol. I is Lyon’s account (with map) of “Cerro de los Edificios” (La Quemada), an Aztec archaelogical site near Zacatecas used by the Aztecs between 300 and 1200 A.D. in their migration to the basin of Mexico. According to Charles D. Trombold, the first detailed description in English of the causeways and ruins of Quemada are in this work (Ancient Road Networks and Settlement Hierarchies in the New World, Cambridge: University of Cambridge, 1991, p. 155).

     An ad at the back of Vol. I notes, as a separate publication, a “Sketch Book” with ten lithographic plates. See previous entry.


Sold. Hammer: $250.00; Price Realized: $306.25.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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