"an ornament of the age"

[Abu al-Fazl ibn Mubarak]; Francis Gladwin, translator The Ayin Akbary, or the institutes of the Emperor Akbar. Translated from the original Persian. London William Richardson 1777
First edition. 4to (25 x 19 cm), pp.[ii], iv, 81, [3]; with a portrait frontispiece, 1 folding printed table, and 4 engraved tables. With some text printed in naskh. A very good copy rebound in contemporary style calf, gilt filleting on boards, raised bands, spine decorated in gilt. Offsetting to title from frontispiece, small tear on folding table (not affecting text).
For the Calcutta edition, see Shaw 22, 30, & 61.

A prospectus for Francis Gladwin's English translation of the Ain-i-Akbari, effectively a gazetteer of the Mughal empire under Akbar's rule. The text has, in Gladwin's words, "universally been considered an ornament of the age". Gladwin's prospectus provides both an example of his translation and more importantly the extensive critical notes he prepared for publication. Gladwin's translation was published in three quarto volumes at Calcutta (1786-1788). Intriguingly, his preface here refers to a collection of "drawings of the most remarkable men, animals, cities, fruits, and flowers, as well as representations of the principal ceremonies described": despite this, his Calcutta edition was unillustrated. The attractive frontispiece depicts the Emperor Akbar with a hawk perched upon his hand. The final two pages are a prospectus for a proposed vocabulary of Arabic, Persian, and Hindustani. The engraved plates include text in devanagari. Gladwin never published the vocabulary described.