Hearn (1928) The Seven Cities of Delhi – 2nd Edition Maps Photos


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Hearn, Gordon. The Seven Cities of Delhi: A Description and History. (Thacker, Spink & Co.: Calcutta & Simla, 1928)

Duodecimo. viii, 274 pages. 23 illustrations, 6 maps, appendix, index. Hardcover. Quarter-bound with tan paper covered boards and grey spine. Two full title pages, one mentioning that it is a second edition, one not.  Stamped in black on both front cover and spine. All edges trimmed.

Condition: VG, all illustrations and maps present (one map with a slight tear not affecting the printed area). Bottom edge of rear board has wear through.  Minor bumping to corners. Previous owner’s signature to first title page, illegible (at least to me) at New Delhi. Please see photo below.

Not a rare book, however with only 31 copies of this edition in WorldCat, an unusual book.  Hearn was a surveyor in the British Army who helped to complete the Khyber Railway.

This has been described as an excellent account of the history and architecture of Delhi. “Sir Hearn coined the phrase “Seven Cities of Delhi”, popularizing the famous drawing of the seven cities that accompanied the original text. Both the drawing and the notion of the seven cities of Delhi have survived to this day. The title “Seven Cities of Delhi” continues to catch the imagination of Delhiites, with its similarity to Rome, the eternal city with its seven hills.” – Vedic Books

“Military men had for many years desired a rail link to the furthest point of the frontier, and the difficulties of supplying and reinforcing British forces operating inside the pass in 1919 turned minds once again towards a railway to the Afghan border. For a generation it had been considered impossible to force a passage through the broken mountains and sheer cliffs, but a masterful survey by Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon Hearn – later Sir Gordon – demolished this myth and construction began in 1920. The railway had been extended to Jamrud in 1901; that the final thirty miles to the Afghan frontier took six years to lay speaks of the tremendous difficulties facing the engineers” – The Khyber Pass: A History of Empire and Invasion – Paddy Docherty