The earliest bibliography and description of Ibrahim Müteferrika's printing press

(Carleson, Edvard). Beskrifning öfwer Tryckeriets inrättning i Constantinopel, och des nu warande tilstånd. [= Description of the Establishment of the Printing Press in Constantinople, and its Current State].

Stockholm, Carl Gottlieb Ulff for Carl Christoffer Gjörwell, 1760.

4to (166 x 197 mm). 18-24 pp. in part IV. Entire volume comprises: Gjörwell, Carl Christoffer (ed.). Det Swenska Biblioteket III-V (1759-1761). (4), 376 pp.; (4), 356 pp.; (4), 215, (1) pp., with 1 engraved map showing the Red Sea and parts of Egypt and Arabia). Contemporary Swedish half calf.


The earliest bibliography and description of Ibrahim Müteferrika's printing press, published in the fourth part of Gjörwell's periodical "Swenska Biblioteket", pre-dating by more than a quarter of a century Giambattista Toderini's catalogue provided in his "Letteratura Turchesca" (Venice, 1787).

The Swedish diplomat Edvard Carleson (1704-67) was posted on a mission to the Porte and arrived in Constantinople in March 1734, where he remained as chargé d'affaires until 1745. After his return to Stockholm, Carleson made the acquaintance of the publisher C. C. Gjörwell, who published his account and bibliography of the Müteferrika printing press. The text, dated 30 July 1735, begins with a full-page introduction describing how the press was established. Carleson then enumerates, in chronological order, 14 publications produced by the press. In most cases the content and the process of translating and publishing are described in great detail. Page numbers are given for some of the books, and prices are stated throughout.

This descriptive bibliography is a crucial document regarding the history of Müteferrika's press and Turkish incunabula. Not only did Carleson personally own the books he described, but he also mentions the future plans for the press, disclosed in direct conversation with its manager.

Gjörwell's publication includes four additional texts by Carleson: "On the Exodus of the Israelites" (with engraved map), "Travels from Cairo to Suez and The Red Sea", and two letters discussing commercial opportunities in the Ottoman Empire and its antiquities. The remainder of the publication is devoted to Swedish history and biography.

Binding slightly worn at extremeties; occasional slight foxing and browning to interior, but very well preserved, with the occasional insignificant paper flaw. Provenance: initials of the Swedish commercial councillor and bibliophile Johan Adolf Ernst (1710-81) in gilt on upper cover, and stricken-out ink ownership of Eric Götlin (1744-1820) to front pastedown.

Ebert 8532. Mustafa Akbulut (ed.), Ibrahim Muteferrika Basimevi ve bastigi ilk eserler (Ankara, 1979). Not in Besterman, Bigmore/Wyman, etc.