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The Eastern Seas - George Windsor Earl

1837 - Wm. H. Allen and Co., London - First Edition
A very important association copy, with the signature of Margaret, Lady Brooke. Earl was a strong admirer of Raffles, who had died in 1826’ and Earl’s book ‘greatly impressed James Brooke, who was also an admirer of Raffles and his writings’. Brooke’s prospectus for his voyage to Singapore and then Borneo (published in October 1938), reflected the influence of Earl’s book.

An entertaining and insightful work, with extensive chapters on Indonesia, Borneo, Malaysia, and Singapore, as well as a lengthy treatise in the Appendix titled ‘
Observations on the Commercial Resources of the Indian Archipelago’. Illustrated with four folding maps.

Brooke encouraged the work of Wallace, whose ‘
Wallace Line’, showing the boundary between Asian and Australian faunal regions, was critical to Wallace and Darwin’s evolutionary theory. But the ‘Line’ had been earlier presented to the Royal Geographical Society by Earl in 1845, and Wallace acknowledged that ‘Earl believed that there had been a former connection between Asia and Australia’. Darwin also wrote to Wallace, after reading a draft of his paper on Malay zoogeography, to ask: ‘Are you aware that Mr. W. Earl published several years ago the view of distribution of animals in Malay Archipelago in relation to the depth of the sea between the islands?’. 
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Price HK$ 9,000



Voyage dans les Mers de l'Inde - Guillaume Joseph Le Gentil de la Galaisière

1779 - Imprimerie Royale, Paris - First Edition
‘Two monumental volumes... crammed with details on astronomy, navigation, and natural history... His descriptions of life in Manila, Pondicherry, and Madagascar are invaluable’ (Dunmore).

‘In addition to the scientific details for which the voyage was undertaken, the first volume treats of the manners, customs, and religion or the people of the Malabar Coast and of the astronomy of the Brahmins. The second volume contains elaborate accounts of the Philippine Islands, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Bourbon and their inhabitants, including views and charts of the Philippines. Le Gentil gives details of the Islands, their climate, volcanoes, fertility, fruits, birds, animals, peoples, language, history, and description of Manila, the government, ecclesiastical and civil, commerce, &c.’ (Edwards).

A stunning set In contemporary bindings and illustrated with twenty seven folding copper engravings showing two world maps, maps charts and plans of Eastern and Western Philippines, Bay of Manila, Philippine Harbours, Manilla, Madagascar and it’s coastline, Isle de France (Mauritius), Isle de Bourbon (Réunion), Quartier S. Denis on Réunion, Eastern and Western Straits of Malacca, and Pondicherry. Together with engraved plates of animals and plant life, the ruins of Pondicherry, pagodas, Indian deities, and charts of comets and constellations.
 
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Price HK$ 55,000



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$ 21,000



A Dictionary of the Malayan Language - William Marsden

1812 - printed for the author by Cox and Baylis, London - First Edition
A good copy of this somewhat scarce dictionary, with interesting provenance, formerly owned by Jonas Daniel Vaughan [1825-1891] a prominent lawyer in Singapore, he also ‘found the task of compiling a supplement to the Malay-English dictionary to be too complex’ [Sutherland] but there are numerous pencil notes and marginalia here.

‘While in Sumatra Marsden developed an academic interest in the Malay language and related tongues that was to last the whole of his life. He published both a dictionary and a grammar of the Malay language in 1812. These were his most significant and enduring linguistic works. Marsden’s original intention had been to publish the grammar and the dictionary as one volume. However, he was persuaded to publish them separately because ‘
however convenient such an arrangement might prove to the private student, it must be otherwise in places of public education, where their separate use ... would be considered as indispensable.’

The dictionary, in particular, broke new ground in terms of methodology. Unlike many previous dictionaries and word lists, Marsden used Arabic characters for the Malay words and arranged the entries following the alphabetical order of the Arabic characters. Another innovation is the inclusion of examples of phrases from native sources, many of which were taken from manuscripts in his collection.’ - King’s College London,
The Marsden Collection. 
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Price HK$ 19,000



Memoirs of a Malayan Family. Written by Themselves. Translated from the Original. - Inscribed - N. Muda, W. Marsden (translator)

1830 - Printed for the Oriental Translation Fund, London - First Edition
A very scarce copy of this little work, which was originally written 1756-66 concerning a Dutch East India Company settlement in Sumatra.

With wonderful provenance, as it is
inscribed by Marsden ‘For Charles Wilkins Esq. with the Translator’s love.’ In addition, tipped in is a hand-written note explaining that this book was gifted to Wilkins by Marsden, and then passed from Miss Lucy Wilkins to Felix Seddon, the writer of this note, and finally to his sister Harriet.

Not only was Marsden Wilkins’ solicitor as noted in the letter, but they were close friends. Sir Charles Wilkins was also an orientalist and founding member of the Asiatic Society, both men spoke numerous Asian languages fluently, and had spent many years in the orient. In 1807 Marsden married Wilkins’ daughter Elizabeth. As the letter indicates, the book was then passed on by Lucy Wilkins to Felix Seddon, Professor of Oriental Languages at King's college, London, another multilingual polyglot orientalist, who along with Wilkins had spent 15 years in India.
 
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Price HK$ 7,000



In the Australian Bush - Richard Semon

1899 - Macmillan and Co., London - First Edition in English
German zoologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Semon’s account of his two year expedition to Australia, his purpose to study the country’s fauna, in particular mammals, marsupials, and lungfish. Most of Semon’s observations were made in the Burnett district in northern Queensland, though he also includes chapters on his travels through Brisbane, Cape York, Thursday Island and Torres Strait, New Guinea, and Java, together with an account of the customs, ceremonies, clothing, weapons, medicine, and decorative arts of tribes of Australian Aborigines in northern Queensland.

Profusely illustrated with more than 80 full page and in-text illustrations, many reproduced from the author’s photographs, and four folding colour maps.
 
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Price HK$ 2,000



Pagan Races of the Malay Peninsula - Walter William Skeat, Charles Otto Blagden

1906 - Macmillan & Co., London - First Edition
A large and comprehensive two volume ethnographic study on the manners, customs, religion, and language of the peoples of the Malay Peninsula.

Profusely illustrated. Skeats adds a bibliography of most of the early literature, consisting of mainly travelogues and reports by colonial administrators and a few scholarly journal articles.

‘Skeat went to much trouble to obtain a large and comprehensive collection of photographs for use as illustrations, which are an excellent record of aboriginal life in his time. He also wrote an Introduction entitled '
Environment', which is a first-rate description of the Malayan jungle and its flora and fauna as a habitat, and he also included a bibliography which, among other things, takes in the work of continental scholars of his day on Malayan aborigines.’ - [J.M. Gullick, The Skeat Collection, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford] 
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Price HK$ 3,800



An Authentic Account of an embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China - Sir George Staunton, Earl of Macartney, Sir Erasmus Gower

1797 - Printed by W. Bulmer and Co. for G, London - First Edition
A clean and exquisitely bound set of this cornerstone of Chine related travel literature, together with the magnificent Elephant Folio Atlas showing forty-four engraved maps and plates (mainly after Alexander), of which two are folding and six are double-page.

‘An account of the first British embassy to China, under Lord Macartney. Great Britain was anxious to establish formal diplomatic relations with China and thus open the way for unimpeded trade relations, but centuries of Chinese reserve and self-sufficiency presented a formidable obstacle to the embassy, and the Chinese emperor effectually resisted Lord Macartney’s arguments and gifts. The visit of the British embassy nonetheless resulted in this remarkable account of Chinese manners and customs at the close of the eighteenth century’ -
The Hill Collection of Pacific Voyages. 
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Price HK$ 220,000



 
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