Small 4° (25 x 16 cm): 3 ff., 29 leaves of plates, original purple printed wrappers (Good, a couple tiny holes running through text, initial leaves uncut, some minor spots to a few plates; back wrapper chipped and creased with some loss; title and the versos of all plates with old Turkish private owner’s hand stamp; old pastedown library label to spine; old inscription in Ottoman Turkish to front cover).
The Igreje de San Francisco (Church of St. Francis), in Cochin (Kochi), India, is one of the oldest and most historically important European sites on the subcontinent. The church was originally built in 1503, but was rebuilt in 1516 with a whitewash facade. Vasco da Gama, the founder of the Portuguese Empire in Asia, died in 1524 and his body was buried in the church for fourteen years, before it was repatriated to Portugal. For generations the church served as one of the key Portuguese social and religious sites in Asia, and the property came to feature many important monuments and gravestones.
Upon the Dutch conquest of Cochin in 1663, the church was confiscated from the Franciscans, and made a Protestant house of worship. In 1804, not long after the British took over the city, it became an Anglican church. The site was designated a protected historical monument in 1923 and is today still a working church home to regular services.
The present work was prepared for the 10th annual conference of the International Orientalists Society, held in Lisbon, and was published by the Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa.
The work features 29 beautifully rendered printed sketches of tombstones, some of which do not today survive in the same condition. As such the sketches are a valuable historical record of one of India’s great historical sites and the bygone era of Portuguese colonialism.
A note on the third text leaf explains the sources of the sketches:
“A presente publicação reproduz 29 desenhos do sr. M.D. Peiloth, copiados pelo sr. P.W. Barrid, em 1889, de outras tantas lapides tumulares de velha igreja de S. Francisco de Cochim. Foram offerecidos á Sociedade de geographia de Lisboa, pelo socio exmo. Bispo de Cochim”. [This publication reproduces 29 drawings by Mr. MD Peiloth, copied by Mr. PW Barrid, in 1889, from so many other tombstones in the old church of S. Francisco de Cochim. They were offered to the Geographical Society of Lisbon, by the Bishop of Cochin.]
References: OCLC: 958962399.