5 April 2016
ALEXANDER, William (1767-1816). The Costume of China. London: William Miller, 1805 [text watermarked 1795-1808, plates watermarked 1821].
4° (331 x 248 mm). 48 hand-colored aquatint plates after Alexander. (Lacking half-title as often, occasional spotting, some offsetting onto text leaves.) Contemporary red straight-grained morocco, covers paneled in gilt and blind, spine in 6 compartments with 5 raised bands gilt, edges gilt (joints discreetly repaired, some light scuffing or wear). Provenance: Louisa and C. Green (early ownership inscription from Broom Farm dated 1830); Albert Wander (bookplate dated 1932 on pastedown).
FIRST EDITION, with the plates in the colored state. Abbey calls for plates 6-9 in the first state before letters; in this copy, they are in the second state with letters. Plate 37 is in Abbey’s second state without letters. Alexander travelled to China as draughtsman with Lord Macartney's Embassy to the Emperor in 1792-4. “Alexander is best remembered for his work on China in a period in which the Chinese style greatly influenced the decorative arts in Britain” (DNB). Abbey Travel 534; Colas 74; Cordier Sinica III, 1858; Tooley 18.
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