The first Westerner to cross the Rub' al Khali

Thomas, Bertram. Arabia Felix. Across the "Empty Quarter" of Arabia.

London, Jonathan Cape, 1932.

8vo. XXIX, (3), 397, (1) pp. With 3 maps (one a large folding map of the Empty Quarter at the end of the volume), 74 photo illustrations on plates, and 7 text illustrations. Publisher's brown cloth with title in gilt to spine.


First edition, published simultaneously with the New York one. The preface was contributed by T. E. Lawrence. Among the many photograph illustrations is one of the earliest portraits of the Qatar royal family (facing p. 298). "In this book, Bertram Thomas relates some aspects of his journey in which he crossed the Rub' Al Khali (Empty Quarter) from Oman to Qatar, and provides geographical information about the peninsula of Qatar, especially the southern part. He also recorded his observations of the region stretching from the Gulf of Salwa to Al-Rayyan, where he met Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, Emir of Qatar at the time (1930). The book includes photographs he took of Sheikh Abdullah, Mohamed bin Abdul-Latif bin Mani', and his brother Saleh bin Abdul-Latif bin Mani'. He gives some concise information about Al-Nuaija, Doha towers, and the castle" (Fikri).

Provenance: armorial bookplate of Arthur Garrard to front pastedown. Later in the collection of the Dutch traveller Ruud Verkerk.


Macro 2185. M. H. Fikri, Qatar in the Heart and in History (2011), p. 46f. (illustrated).