Wanderings of a Pilgrim: In search of the picturesque, during four-and-twenty years in the East; with revelations of life in the Zenna, London: Pelham Richardson, 1850
A two-volume edition
Volume I: pp. xxxv; 479 pages; frontispiece showing Lord Ganesha and 27 plates, some of them coloured, lacks folding chart 'Elevation of the Himalayas' in back pocket
Volume II: pp. xv; 523 pages; frontispiece showing gilted Lord Krishna and Gopis and 20 plates, some of them coloured, lacks plate no. 32 facing p. 121 [Kaniya-jee and the Gopis]
Original navy blue buckram with gilt illustration of Kartikeya on covers and of a young Lord Krishna playing the flute on the spines of both volumes
11.5 x 8 in (29.2 x 20.3 cm) (each)
This lavish two-volume set documents the experiences of Fanny Parks (nee Frances Susanna Archer) over her twenty-four year stay in India. Her husband, Charles Crawford Parks, worked for the East India Company as a civil servant, working in Calcutta and then moving to Prayag near Allahabad.
Despite its title, the book relates entirely to northern India and the Himalayas. The title is derived from a popular volume - "Wanderings of a Pilgrim in the Shadow of Mont Blanc" by George Cheever, published three years before Parkes's book. The plates are based on the sketches by Parkes, her friends and Indian artists.
Parkes [1794-1875] lived in India from 1822 to 1846. She sailed without her husband up the Jumna river to Agra and up the Ganges to Fatehgarh and spent nearly a year in the Himalayas. She spoke fluent Hindustani, and studied and sketched the people, plant, animal and insect life. The finest eyewitness account of India as it was before the Indian Mutiny - lively, detailed [even describing, with illustration, as to how ice was made in winters outside the walls of Delhi], unbiased and informed. She had an open-minded approach to Indian customs and was highly critical of the British colonial rule in India.