5 April 2016
QIANLONG, Emperor of China. – HELMAN, Isidore Stanislas (1743-1806?). Suite des seize estampes representant les Conquetes de l'empereur de la Chine, avec leur explication. Paris: chez l'Auteur, [1783-1788].
Oblong 2° (421 x 528 mm). Engraved title with plate list (creased), 24 engraved plates on 22 leaves (one folded with three joined plates), numbered I-XXIV (some pale mostly marginal dampstaining, scattered light foxing, some creasing to folded plate). Half tan calf over contemporary marbled boards (leather renewed preserving original spine label).
RARE SET of engravings, recording the battles, victories and ceremonies of the Chinese Emperor Qianlong. The original set of sixteen engravings was commissioned by the emperor on July 13, 1765, for the central hall of the Imperial Palace in Beijing. The original drawings were prepared in China by four Jesuit missionaries after Chun-ko-erh Hui-pu teng chu te sheng tu (1769-1774), the original work depicting the Emperor's Turkistan campaign, drawn by Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766 ) and others. These were then sent to France where they were engraved by eight artists under the direction of Charles-Nicolas Cochin of the Académie Royale at the Court of Louis XVI. These large engravings were completed in 1774 and distributed in China, with only a few rare proofs remaining in Europe. French interest in Qianlong was so great that Helman (a pupil of J. P. le Bas who worked on the original plates) published reduced versions with captions in French between 1783 and 1785, and subsequently added eight further plates depicting imperial ceremonies between 1786 and 1788 (with a leaf of engraved labels for prints 1-18, with caption title and undated imprint), making up the present work.
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