DU HALDE, Jean Baptiste (1674-1743). Description Géographique, Historique, Chronologique, Politique et Physique de l'Empire de la Chine et de la Tartarie Chinoisie. Paris: P.G. Le Mercier, 1735.
4 volumes, 2o (430 x 283 mm). Half-titles, title-pages printed in red and black. Engraved title vignettes by M. Baquoy after A. Humblot, 4 engraved head-pieces after Humblot, 53 engraved maps (23 folding, 17 double-page, 3 with contemporary outline-coloring), 11 engraved plates (9 double-page, one printed music) by Delahaye, Desbrulins, and Fonbonne after Humblot, Lucas, Le Parmentier and others, engraved and woodcut initials, woodcut head-pieces (some occasional pale spotting). (Some browning to a few leaves.) Contemporary French straight-grained morocco, later English coat of arms of John Bligh gilt-stamped on covers, smooth gilt spine divided into 7 compartments, gilt-lettered in the second and third, author and date gilt-lettered at foot of spine of vol. 1, morocco shelf label at the foot of spine of all volumes, gilt inner dentelles (spines repaired, joints weak); slipcases. Provenance: Chrétien-François de Lamoignon (1735-1789) (binding, "Bibliotheca Lamoniana" booklabel on front pastedowns, ink shelf mark on flyleaves, crowned cipher stamp on p. 3 of each volume); John Bligh, 4th Earl of Darnley (coat of arms on covers).
THE LAMOIGNON COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF DU HALDE'S "ENCYCLOPEDIC SURVEY OF CHINA" (Lust) -- and one of the earliest European sources on Chinese ceramics. Du Halde, who became a Jesuit priest in 1708, was entrusted by his superiors to edit the published and manuscript accounts of Jesuit travellers in China. The present work records the narratives of twenty-seven of these missionaries (listed in volume I, pp. li-li). Also notable is the "Relation succinte du voyage du capitaine Beering dans la Sibérie" (volume IV, pp.452-458), which is the first published account of Vitus Bering's 1728 voyage through the eponymous straits, whose importance he failed to recognize after sighting no land. The accompanying double-page map titled "Carte des pays traversees par le Capne. Beering depuis la ville de Tobolsk jusqu' Kamtschatka" (bound between pp.452 and 453) is based on Bering's manuscript map, which was given to the King of Poland and in turn passed to Du Halde to be reproduced here. Bering's map is "THE FIRST PRINTED MAP OF PART OF PRESENT ALASKA" (S.I. Schwarz and R.E. Ehrenberg, The Mapping of America). Chrétien-François de Lamoignon was Keeper of Seals in France during the period leading up to the French Revolution. First on the side of the Paris Parlement and later siding with the king, he became increasingly unpopular in France and committed suicide on 15 May 1789. His exceptional library was bought by Thomas Payne, who issued a catalogue of its contents in 1793. De Backer & Sommervogel IV:35; Brunet II:870; Cordier Sinica I, 45-48; Cox I:355; Lada-Mocarski 2; Lust Western Books on China 12; Wickersham 6099.