The Costume of China illustrated in Forty-Eight Coloured Engravings - William Alexander 1805 - William Miller, London - First Edition A finely bound first edition of this scarce work, with a sepia aquatint frontispiece and 48 hand-coloured aquatint plates depicting various mandarins, tradesmen, royalty and all phases of Chinese society, fashion and costume. These engravings form a contrast to the earlier illustrations by the Chinese artist Peu Qua who illustrated Mason’s Costumes of China in 1801.

Originally published in parts by G. Nicoll between 1794 and 1804, but Abbey states that no description of a copy in parts has been seen.
  William Alexander (1767-1816), student of the Royal Academy, studied art under Pars, and subsequently Ibbetson. In 1792, he was appointed one of the draftsmen to the Macartney Embassy to China. From 1792 to 1794 he accompanied Lord Macartney’s official embassy on behalf of the British government to Beijing, where he documented the visit, made drawings of the Chinese court, many of his drawings where later used in both Sir George Staunton’s account of the embassy (1797), and John Barrow’s Travels in China (1804). In 1802 he was appointed professor of drawing at the Royal Military School, and later served as curator of drawings and prints at the British Museum.

Provenance: D. J. Good, with his signature dated 1878 to half-title.

Reference: Colas 74. Lipperheide 1527. Wittockiana 51. Abbey
Travel 534. Cordier Sinica 1858. Lust 1118.
4to. (sheet size 32 x 25 cm, binding size 32.7 x 26 cm) pp. [1 half title] [2] [2 illustrated title and title page] [1] [48 leaves bearing a description of each plate on the verso] [2 index] [1 publisher’s advertisement] [1]. Lacks list of subscribers. dedication leaf as with most copies.
  In recent brown half calf over marbled boards, spine gilt tooled and with two morocco labels (black and burgundy) titled in gilt, new endpapers.   Condition: Near fine, generally a nice clean set, some toning to one or two plates, and light soiling, in fine binding.   Ref: 106305   Price: HK$ 60,000