London and Paris: Fisher, Son, & Co., [ca. 1843]. Allom, Thomas. First Edition. Hardcover. Four volumes bound in two, quarto size, approx. 364 pp. Very good +. Item #17072004
Draughtsman, architect, and artist Thomas Allom (1804-1872) is probably best known for this title, which was the most popular and best known work on this subject at the time. Public interest in the Far East was intense at the middle of the nineteenth century as both China and Japan were both largely closed to Europeans, and this interest was likely intensified by the end of the First Opium War (1839-1842) which forced China to open additional ports and ceded Hong Kong Island to the British Empire (Japan would also be forced to partially open itself to Europeans ten years later, with Perry's expedition). Allom never visited China himself, although in 1834 he travelled to Turkey, Anatolia, Syria and Palestine. These experiences equipped him well to illustrate this work by interpreting drawings from other artists, including copies of Chinese drawings from Sir George Stauntons' collection by Captain Stoddart and others. It deals mainly with Peking, Nanking, the Southeast and South, especially concerning locations where treaty ports were established after the Opium War. Also included is "Life of Kang-He, Emperor of China", for which the Editor credits the Rev. Mr. [Karl Friedrich August] Gutzlaff (1803-1851), the first Lutheran missionary to China and one of the first Protestant missionaries in China to wear Chinese clothing.
___DESCRIPTION: Contemporary half red straight-grain morocco, embossed decorative red cloth covered boards, hand-tooled and lettered in gilt to backstrip with a decorative gilt border to the edges of the leather on both boards, all edges marbled, light-orange endpapers, each of the four volumes with both a pictorial and standard title page, 128 steel engraved plates (including frontispieces and title-vignettes) throughout the text, most with original tissue guards; quarto size (11" by 8.75"), pagination: Volume I: [i-iv]  2-72 ("Life of Kang-He" interrupts the pagination as usual)  6-96; Volume II: [1-5] 6-72; Volume III: [1-5] 6-68; Volume IV: [1-5] 6-56 (plates not included in pagination); published about 1843, the first edition.
___CONDITION: Better than very good, in a contemporary binding, the text blocks square and tight with solid hinges, free of prior owner markings other than a light name in pencil on the flyleaves of both books ("A.N.H. 1865") and what is likely a private library number at the top corner of the rear pastedowns, vintage bookseller tickets to the rear pastedowns (G. Hargens, San Francisco), collated complete and internally very bright except for the preliminary and final few pages, which have some scattered foxing; a professional restorer has mended the joints, head and tails of the spines and corners, the binding is now strong and sturdy; a bit of soiling to the cloth portion of the boards, backstrips are sunned, and with a few areas of old dampstain in the margins. Even with the wear to the edges of the binding, this is a solid, very good example of these lovely views of a China now long gone, often found as individual plates but uncommon in a complete, first edition state.
___CITATION: Bibliotheca Sineca 2.0 (Cordier) 80; Lust 363.
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