STAUNTON, Sir George Leonard.

An authentic account of an Embassy

£18,500

An authentic account of an Embassy

from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China […] with notices of Tristan d’Acuna, Amsterdam, Java, Sumatra, Cochin-China. Taken chiefly from the papers of His Excellency the Earl of Macartney.
London, G. Nicol, 1797

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Description

A finely illustrated account of the first British embassy to China, which was to lead to the foundation of Hong Kong as a British trading post. It was the failure of this mission to establish direct trade links with China that convinced the British government of the need to set up its own trading post.

Staunton, a medical doctor and friend of Dr. Johnson, accompanied Macartney as secretary. To write his account, Staunton had access to Macartney’s journal and was assisted by John Barrow. Staunton’s account is noteworthy for his detailed description of the journey, his examination of Chinese customs (including the binding of women’s feet) and the detailed appendix on Chinese trade with Europe and more specifically Britain.

Alexander’s plates are of special interest due to their depiction of subjects that very few Europeans had recorded or seen and the indications they gave to the considerable technical, artistic and organizational advancement of the Chinese civilization. The atlas also includes a detailed map of Macao.

The work was hugely successful, fifteen editions were issued in seven countries in thirty years.

Description

First edition. 3 volumes, comprising 2 volumes 4to text and landscape folio atlas (45 x 56 cm.). 44 engraved maps and plates, some folding, marginal tear to plate 41 repaired; text volumes contemporary diced russia rebacked to style; atlas half calf over marbled boards to match, a fine clean set.

Bibliography

Cordier, Sinica, 2381-83; Hill 1628; Lowendahl 697; Lust 545 & 547.

 

Stock ID: 86631