5 April 2016
BARROW, Sir John (1764-1848). Travels in China, containing descriptions, observations, and comparisons, made and collected in the course of a short residence at the imperial palace of Yuen-min-yuen, and on a subsequent journey through the country from Pekin to Canton. In which it is attempted to appreciate the rank that this extraordinary empire may be considered to hold in the scale of civilized nations. London: Printed for T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1806.
4° (278 x 215 mm). Hand-colored port frontispiece & 7 plates, 4 of them hand-colored. (Some scattered light foxing and spotting.) Modern half maroon morocco, uncut.
Second edition (first published in London, 1804), wide-margined copy with text watermarked “Whatman 1805” and plates unwatermarked.
Barrow served as comptroller of household to Lord Macartney's embassy to China from 1792-1794. “It will be noticed that Barrow, like William Alexander, was in the Suite of the Earl of Macartney’s embassy of 1792 to the Emperor of China. The expedition provided the material for a number of interesting works on China, of which the above book, and Alexander’s The Costume of China [see previous lot] ... are notable examples” (Abbey).
“As a writer Barrow is best known for his Mutiny on the Bounty (1831) but, during his lifetime, his accounts of his travels in eastern Asia and southern Africa, published between 1801 and 1807, were better known and more influential” (Dictionary of National Biography).
Abbey Travel, 531n; Cordier 2388-2389 (“Cette édition a le même nombre de pages et de gravures que la suivante”); Lust 366 (“Second edition, as the first, but without the aquatints”).
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