A Voyage Round the World, In the Years MDCCXL, I, II, III, IV. - George Anson, Richard Walter

1748 - Printed for the Author, London - First Edition
A finely bound ‘Royal Paper’ copy of this beautifully illustrated work which ‘has long occupied a distinguished position as a masterpiece of descriptive travel’ (Hill), and ‘a model of what such literature should be’ (Cox).

Containing forty-two copper-engraved maps, charts, views, and coastal profiles, all but one folding, including views of Brazilian harbours and cities, Acapulco, Tenian, Port St. Julian, Magellan’s Straits, the Bay of Manila, Saipan, Lama, Lantau, Chinese junks, and others, and large folding maps of South America, the Philippines, and the Pacific Ocean, as well as a twelve-page subscriber list, and the two-page instructions to the binder.

England, at war with Spain in 1739, equipped eight ships under the command of George Anson to harass the Spaniards on the western coast of South America for the purpose of cutting off Spanish supplies of wealth from the Pacific area. Seven ships were lost and of 900 men 600 perished. As usual, scurvy took an appalling toll.

The Spanish fleet sent to oppose the British ran into storms; provisions ran out and many ships were wrecked. Thus the primary objective of the expedition was not attained. Anson, however, continued taking prizes off the Pacific coast during 1741-42, and in June 1743, near the Philippines, he captured the Spanish galleon
Nostra Seigniora de Cabadonga and its treasure of £400,000 sterling, which allowed Anson and the surviving members of his crew to reach England much the richer. 
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Price HK$ 59,000

Sketches of China and The Chinese - Auguste Borget

1842 - Tilt & Bogue, London - First English Edition (issued simultaneously with the French edition, plates for both were printed by Goupil et Vibert in Paris)
Complete set of this renowned and highly prized collection of plates on China, including views of Hong Kong, Macao, and Canton.

Tinted lithographic title page and thirty two sepia tinted lithographic plates on 25 sheets, together with letterpress text and title page, in later binding by Bayntun-Riviere.

‘The feeling of superiority to the Chinese, so characteristic of accounts from the 1840s, is absent here. The artist observes with a fresh eye.’ - Lust,
Western Travellers in China. 
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Price HK$ 250,000

China and Japan, and A Voyage Thither; an Account of a Cruise in the Waters of the East Indies, China, and Japan - James B. Lawrence USMC

1870 - Case, Hartford - First American Edition
A scarce work in the form of letters covering Lawrence’s service in the marine corps on the US Steamer Wachuset, sailing from Boston in 1865 through the West Indies, via South America, the Cape and up to Java, arriving in Hong Kong to join the Asiatic Squadron in March 1866. The majority of this work covers his two years service mostly in China, with a short description of Japan of about 50 pages. Lawrence later served as a surgeon in the Army.

Very personal and interesting observations of the people, places and happenings throughout his tour. With nine full page illustrations.
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Price HK$ 2,900

Borneo and the Indian Archipelago. With Drawings of Costume and Scenery - Frank S. Marryat

1848 - Longman, London - First Edition
A superbly illustrated work on Indonesia, and Rajah Brooke, with additional detail on Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

Illustrations include a chromolithographed colour frontispiece and additional title, twenty tinted lithographic plates, and thirty-seven woodcuts. Many of Marryat’s expertly lithographed drawings represent the earliest ethnographical records of life in Borneo and the Indian Archipelago

Frank Marryat served as a Midshipman on board the H.M.S. Samarang on a surveying expedition to the Indian Archipelago, 1843-1846, cut short in consequence, as Mr. Marryat infers, of the ill-conditioned behaviour and unpopularity of her captain, Sir Edward Belcher.
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Price HK$ 18,000

SOLD - The Chater Collection - James Orange

1924 - Thornton Butterworth Limited, London - First Edition. Limited Edition, number 293 of 750 copies
A fine copy of the first edition in a complete example of the scarce and delicate dust jacket. The only work to comprehensively document this unsurpassed collection of 430 China trade paintings and engravings, including the historical context relating to each. Written and compiled by James Orange, curator of the collection prior to it’s tragic destruction and dispersal during the Japanese occupation (1941-5), the remaining 94 pieces are now housed in Hong Kong’s City Hall Museum and Art Gallery (formerly the Hong Kong Museum of Art).

In the publisher’s original dust jacket. Illustrated with eighteen colour plates, 242 monochrome images, three folding colour maps, six monochrome maps, and a photogravure portrait frontispiece of Sir C. P. Chater.

Sir Catchick Paul Chater, an Indian-born Armenian who arrived in Hong Kong in 1864, amassed a large collection of historical pictures and engravings relating to China which he gifted to the people of Hong Kong. Its backbone was the collection of Wyndham Law of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, and included oil paintings, water colours, sketches, prints and photographs, most of which are based on landscape scenes of the South China trading ports in the 18th and 19th centuries, and of British activities in China.

Chater became a successful merchant, was appointed ex officio member of both the Legislative Council and the Executive Council, and amassed a considerable fortune. Quite a few places in Hong Kong are named after him. These include the well known Chater Road, Chater Garden, Chater Building and Catchick Street. In 1926 his private collection of paintings and ceramics was bequeathed to the people of Hong Kong.

Shortly before the Japanese occupation in 1941, the Governor Sir Mark Aitchison Young ordered valuable works of Chater collection be hidden in the wine cellar and strong room in the basement of Government House. However the basement was considerably altered during the Japanese Occupation, the paintings were most probably discovered and removed by the Japanese troops. Legend has it that there was another secret store beside the basement. On December 8, 1941, Captain Batty-Smith, Aide-de-Camp to the Governor, had a secret meeting with von Kobza-nagy, a Hungarian expert and restorer, and Thomas Harmon of the Public Works Department. Later, documents reveal that valuable paintings of Chater Collection had their frames removed and then placed in sealed tins. They were buried in the garden of Government House. Only Batty-Smith, von Kobza-nagy and Thomas Harmon knew the exact location, but the mystery of the hidden paintings was buried after all three men died during the Japanese Occupation. After the war, several attempts were made to uncover these treasures in 1945 and 1976. In 1979, Government House underwent a major renovation project. The grounds were thoroughly searched, inside out and from the basement to nearby underground tunnels and air raid shelters, yet nothing was found.

There were still a number of paintings from the collection hanging on the walls of Government House when the Japanese captured Hong Kong. In 1942, it was renovated by the Japanese, and a local contractor Sinn Chi Lam, who took part in the project, found more twenty three in the rubbish dump. At considerable risk he smuggled them to his home village in Bao An, Guangdong, returning all to the Hong Kong Government after the war.

Another hero who saved the Chater Collection was F. A. Xavier, an ethnic Portuguese living in Hong Kong. Xavier discovered some pieces of the collection in an antique shop in Central. Later he searched all over Central and Western district for other pieces and managed to acquire 30 works. All these were handed to the Hong Kong Government. Alongside Government House, the Government Secretariat was also a store for some Chater paintings. On December 27, 1941, Japanese troops occupied the Government Secretariat for three days. After their retreat, hooligans looted the place. It remains a mystery whether these works were looted or taken away by the Japanese. The Chater ceramic collection of was moved to the Government Stores in North Point, but on discovery by the Japanese more than 980 pieces were shipped to Japan in 1942, however it is believed that the vessel carrying this special cargo sank somewhere in the northern waters of Hong Kong.

The Chater Collection, having sailed through long years of turmoil, has been reduced from more than 400 to a mere 94 pieces, and is currently housed in Hong Kong’s City Hall Museum and Art Gallery [2016].

[Reference: The Chater Legacy - A Selection of the Chater Collection, 2008.]
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Price HK$ 0

Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai, and Other Treaty Ports of China - Arnold Wright, H. A. Cartwright

1908 - Lloyd’s Greater Britain Publishing Company, London - First Edition
A massive and exhaustive work, illustrated with well over a thousand black and white photographs. Containing 270 detailed pages dedicated to Hong Kong, 324 pages to Shanghai, and 150 pages to the remaining treaty ports.

Covering not only history, culture and government, but details on the major conglomerates, companies, industries, clubs (business, social and sporting), and leading figures of the day. There is nothing comparable.

Scarce and even more so in such exceptional condition in the original publisher’s gilt decorated binding.
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Price HK$ 45,000