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A Syllabic Dictionary of the Chinese Language - S. Wells Williams

1874 - American Presbyterian Mission Press, Shanghai - First Edition
‘Williams' Syllabic Dictionary of the Chinese Language was an attempt to combine and synthesise the achievements of Western lexicography in China, in particular the method of dialect comparison (a field in which 'the natives have done nothing'), while making extensive use of Chinese reference works and traditional lexicographic sources. Thus Williams describes the Wufang Yuanyin or 'Original Sounds of the Five Regions' (1700) as 'the groundwork of the present dictionary'. The Syllabic Dictionary represents an ambitious attempt to compress into one work as far as possible all the information 'to satisfy all the needs of a foreigner', including information about 'general and vernacular' readings of characters, aspects of the etymology and history of characters and variant 'authorised and colloquial' meanings.’

British consular officer, sinologist and linguist, Sir Herbert Giles was highly critical of WIlliams’ work, publishing in 1879, a small work entitled ‘
On Some Translations and Mistranslations’ in Dr. Williams’ Syllabic Dictionary…’. in which he states that ‘though in many ways an improvement upon its predecessors, is still unlikely to hold the fort for any indefinitely long period’ ingeniously though correctly ho goes on to say ‘It is indeed already felt by many that something more systematic in arrangement and more accurate in detail is wanted to meet the present extension of Chinese studies,’ it took Giles a further twenty years to compile his own dictionary.

A finely bound copy with two hand written sheets of Chinese characters and one small map torn out of a magazine with annotations and markings of a route. There is also a letter tipped into the front from the Chicago Imperial Academy of Sciences, sent to L. Wilkinson, offering three Chinese dictionaries, listing by importance ‘
the big one by Giles’ ‘at the price of £4.12.6’ ‘next to this in importance are the two following dictionaries’ ‘Wells Williams Syllabic dict- of the Chinese Lang.’ ‘Shanghai 1874’ £2.18.0’ and ‘Wells Williams Tonic dict. of Canton dialect’ ‘Canton 1856’ which was ‘out of print the price would be about 30/-’. 
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Price HK$ 18,000



A Naturalist in Western China - Ernest Henry Wilson

1913 - Methuen & Co. Ltd., London - First Edition
‘Ernest Henry Wilson (1876–1930) was introduced to China in 1899 when, as a promising young botanist, he was sent there by horticulturalist Henry Veitch (1840–1924) to collect the seed of the handkerchief tree, Davidia involucrata, for propagation in Britain. Subsequent trips saw Wilson bringing back hundreds of seed samples and plant collections, introducing many Chinese plants to Europe and North America.

Although much of the text is concerned with plant life, Wilson also gives a great deal of attention to the wider landscape around him. In addition, Wilson took a camera, and these volumes contain photographs of parts of China rarely seen by Europeans in the early twentieth century. In Volume 1 he discusses his journey through China and in Volume 2 describes the Chinese use of plants in medicine and agriculture.’ -
Cambridge University Press.

A superb two volume set of the first edition, profusely illustrated throughout, with 101 black and white plates, mostly form photographs, and a large folding map in volume II after page 210.
 
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Price HK$ 6,500



1919 - Cassell and Company, London - Number 1152 of 1400 limited copies
‘The Crown Jewels of England are historically and, indeed, intrinsically of a value impossible to compute. The Crown of England is older than any Crown in Europe, and is worn by a sovereign with more ancient a lineage than any of the Royal families of the Western world.

An exceptional copy of this large and authoritative work on England’s Crown Jewels, written by Younghusband when he was keeper of the jewel house in the Tower of London. Features detailed accounts of the crowns, sceptres, swords, and other regalia belonging to the coronation of England’s sovereigns, with portrait frontispiece of George V and 18 lavish full-colour plates, each with descriptive tissue guards. In the scarce dust jacket.
 
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Price HK$ 2,500



 
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