A celebration of the life and career of Ibn Sa'ud, founder and first king of Saudi Arabia

Philby, Harry St John Bridger. Arabian Jubilee.

London, Robert Hale Ltd., 1952.

8vo. XIV, 280 pp. With a portrait of King 'Abdul-'Aziz Ibn Sa'ud as the frontispiece, 1 map of Arabia in 1950, and 16 double-sided plates. Black cloth.


First edition of this biography of Saudi Arabian King HRH Abdul-Aziz bin Abdul Rahman al Sa'ud by his adviser Harry St John Bridger Philby. Ibn Sa'ud was the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, when after a conquest spanning 30 years he united most of the Arabian Peninsula under his rule. He reigned from 1932 until his death in 1953, but had previously (since 1902) ruled parts of what was to become Saudi Arabia as Emir, Sultan, King of Nejd, and King of Hejaz. The present work is not a complete and final biography: at the time of writing and publication the king was still alive, and Philby states in the preface that "it is rather a pageant of his [Ibn Sa'ud's] achievement, set forth in a series of tableaux illustrating characteristic phases of his career". The descriptions of these phases contain not only information relating to the king, but also inform the reader about the country as a whole and are enlivened by accounts and other small details of court life and Islamic customs, including a pilgrimage to Mecca. The work is illustrated with numerous images of the king and his family, and important landmarks in Saudi Arabia.

Binding shows slight signs of wear, spine is slightly discoloured, slight foxing to edges, very slight browning throughout, several newspaper clippings in a small paper pocket on the lower pastedown. Overall in good condition.

Howgego IV, P 31. Cf. (other ed.) Shapero, The Islamic World (2003), 395; Sotheby's, Burrell sale, lot 623.