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.
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
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.
Limited to 50 pieces in solid sterling silver
and 25 pieces in solid gold
EDITION SOLD OUT!
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