SIR THOMAS STAMFORD RAFFLES (1781-1826)
The History of Java. London: for Black, Parbury, and Allen; and John Murray, 1817. 2 volumes, 4° (265 x 210mm). Half-titles. 64 etched or aquatint plates, of which one folding and 10 hand-coloured aquatint costume plates by William Daniell, watermarked 1816, 6 engraved vignettes, 2 maps including a large folding engraved map hand-coloured in outline, one leaf of advertisements for May 1817, verso blank. Contemporary half calf and marbled boards, sprinkled edges. (Spines re-laid, rubbed). Provenance: Geo. G. Bompass, (contemporary ink ownership inscriptions at head of title-pages).
FIRST EDITION. 650 copies only printed on plain paper, with a further 250 copies printed in royal 4to. The number of copies was limited to 900, due to the fragile nature of the aquatint plates, 7 of the 10 hand-coloured plates by William Daniell being from oil paintings by him, which are now in the British Museum. Contributions on the island’s botany and geology were made by Thomas Horsfield, and chapters on Java’s antiquities and temples, literature, history and economics were made by Indonesian, Dutch and British experts on Indonesia. Raffles’s work was patterned on William Marsden’s The History of Sumatra, 1811, but was intended to contrast British benevolence with the 'tyrannical and rapacious' policies of the Dutch. The typography and fine illustrations are exceptional, and the work was judged by John Bastin, bibliographer of Indonesia, to be 'one of the most important and influential books about Indonesia ever published'. Raffles was Lieutenant-Governor of Java until 1816 and founded the city state of Singapore in 1819. Abbey Travel 554; Bastin and Bromer 80-90.