SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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STAUNTON, Sir George.
An Authentic Account of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain, to the Emperor of China.

London: W. Bulmer, 1787-96.
Cox I, 344; Bobins 310.
London: W. Bulmer, 1787-96.

3 vols, including an atlas of plates; 2 vols of 4to text with frontispiece portraits, and folio atlas including a folding map and 43 copper-engraved maps and plates (some double-page) accompanying text, frontispieces, portraits. In 1792 Staunton accompanied his father to China in the capacity of a page to the Ambassador. He became proficient in Chinese and was the only Englishman able to converse on arriving at the Court of the Emperor. On his return to London, he wrote the text to accompany his drawings made at the embassy. Later, he was to join the East India Company as a writer and expert in Chinese matters. "The account of this famous embassy was prepared at Government expense. Apart from its Chinese importance, it is of considerable interest owing to the description of the various places en route which were visited, including; Madeira, Teneriffe, Rio de Janeiro, St. Helena, Tristan d'Acunha, Amsterdam Island, Java, Sumatra, Cochin-China, etc. Britain was anxious to establish formal diplomatic relations with China and thus open the way for unimpeded trade relations. But the pall of Chinese reserve and self-sufficiency, which for many centuries seldom permitted penetration, still hung over this empire and effectively resisted Lord Macartney's arguments and gifts. His visit gave a most interesting account of Chinese manners and customs at the close of the 18th century." (Cox) The plates are all uncoloured, so they are not listed.