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Conway Stewart 'Arabian Nights'
Limited Edition

Sir Richard Francis Burton was an English explorer, writer, soldier, orientalist, ethnologist, linguist, and poet. He was well known for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures. One of his most famous works was the translation to English of The Thousand and One Nights, commonly known as "Arabian Nights", a stunning work of story telling, literature, as well as translation.

Burton's best-known achievements include travelling and journeying with John Hanning Speke to discover the Great Lakes of Africa in search of the source of the river Nile. He was a prolific author and wrote numerous books and scholarly articles about subjects including travel, fencing and ethnography.

He was a captain in the army of the East India Company serving in India and the Crimean War. Following this he was engaged by the Royal Geographical Society to explore the east coast of Africa and led an expedition which discovered Lake Tanganyika. Burton was considered a controversial figure in his day and, while some considered him a hero, others considered him a scoundrel. In any case, his incredible ability with languages and the art of translation stands out among the backdrop of the Victorian era.

"Arabian Nights" takes place in the second Persian Empire (226 - 651). When the king discovers his wife plotting with a lover to kill him, he has the pair executed.

Believing all women to be likewise unfaithful, he gives an order for a new wife every night, and after spending one night with his bride, the king has her executed at dawn. This practice continues for some time, until Sheherazade volunteers to become the king's next wife. Each night she spends hours telling him stories, each time stopping at dawn so the king will postpone the execution out of a desire to hear the rest of the tale. In the end, she has given birth to three sons, and the king has been convinced of her faithfulness and revoked his decree.

The tales told in "Arabian Nights" vary widely; they include historical tales, love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems, burlesques and Muslim religious legends. Some of the famous stories Shehrazade tells in the western translations are Aladdin's Lamp, the versions of Sindbad the Sailor, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

Sir Richard Francis Burton's translation is probably the best known among English speakers; formally entitled The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night it was first published in 1885. Unlike previous editions, his ten volume translation was not bowdlerized. Though printed in the Victorian era, it contained all the erotic nuances of the source material, something unheard of for a published work of the time. Burton circumvented strict Victorian laws on obscene material by printing an edition for subscribers only rather than formally publishing the book. Although controversial at the time, today the rich narrative content far outweighs any titillating component of the work.

The Conway Stewart Arabian Nights, like Burtons translation itself, is a rich tapestry of both form and texture. Utilising the art of filigree, which requires twisting and plaiting fine threads of silver wire to form an intricate design, the Arabian Nights is a visual feast. The filigree design is carefully constructed one piece at a time by the artist, with each individually wound and twisted piece of silver wire set into place and secured to create jewellery of infinite beauty.

Filigree represents the marvellous and limitless fusion of imagination and artistry. Although filigree works of art consists of mainly plant life, animals and birds, the tradition does not limit the craftsman from innovating and experimenting with their skill. Our silversmith, renowned for his jewellery work, has chosen to apply his great knowledge and vast experience to create an intricate woven web of abstract filigree. This jewellery work wraps securely around our solid 18 carat gold cap and barrel, providing a rich contrast to the gleaming silver of the filigree.

The filigree work on the Arabian Nights is so intricate you have to examine the pieces with a magnifying glass to truly appreciate the meticulous craftsmanship. The quality appears almost regal.

Whether considered as a fine writing instrument, or as the highest expression of the silversmith's art, the Conway Stewart Arabian Nights is a truly unique and amazing work of art.

Conway Stewart 'Arabian Nights'
Limited Edition

Limited to 50 pieces in solid sterling silver and 25 pieces in solid gold


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