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Unbeaten Tracks in Japan - Isabella L. Bird

1881 - G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York - First American Edition
I venture to present it to the public in the hope that, in spite of its demerits, it may be accepted as an honest attempt to describe things as I saw them in Japan, on land journeys of more than 1400 miles.

A fine and scarce two volume account of the indomitable and observant Isabella Bird-Bishop’s solo travels through Japan in the late nineteenth century, illustrated with two engraved frontispieces, forty in-text engravings, and a large fold-out map to the rear of volume I. Later English and American editions where published as a single volume.

“The legendary Isabella Bird's ‘
Unbeaten Tracks in Japan’ recounts her travels in the Far East, begun four years earlier. Bird was recommended an open-air life from an early age as a cure for her physical and nervous difficulties, which based upon her extensive traveling and writing seem to have been completely misdiagnosed - it would not be surprising to discover that the phrase ‘a tough old bird’ refers her.

Created out of the letters Bird wrote home, primarily to her sister, Volume 1 recounts her experiences as a solo woman traveller living among the Japanese in Yokohama and Niigata. It includes descriptions of clothing, food and drink, education, housing, theatre, women's lifestyles, religion, plant life, medicine, shopping and other day-to-day activities, as well as the vicissitudes and excitement of the conditions and process of travelling, including by boat and pack-horse.

Volume 2 covers her journeys to Yeso, Tokyo, Kyoto, and the Ise Shrines, and includes her experiences of staying with the Hairy Ainu, the indigenous inhabitants of northern Japan. As with the first volume, it includes much detail of the lifestyles, customs, and habits of the people she encountered, as well as a chapter on Japanese public affairs.” [Cambridge University Press]

Isabella Lucy Bird (1831-1904) began her travelling career quite late in life. Occupied with caring for her parents until she was forty, by which time Bird herself had succumbed to a debilitating spinal complaint, depression, and insomnia, travel was prescribed as an antidote – the remedy to which she became addicted. She visited and wrote about countless countries, her vast experiences awarding her the honour of becoming the first women to be elected into the elite Royal Geographical Society. Frailty she did not tolerate, and at the age of 68, rode a thousand miles in Morocco and the Atlas Mountains.
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Price HK$ 3,500

Haiku : Volume 1 Eastern Culture; Volume 2 Spring; Volume 3 Summer-Autumn; Volume 4 Autumn-Winter. - R. H. Blyth

1960 - The Hokuseido Press, Tokyo - Early Printings
‘Mountains and rivers, the whole earth, –
All manifest forth the essence of being’

A lovely set of this four volume work on the origins and spirit of Japanese
haiku, complete and fine in beautifully illustrated dust jackets. Tipped in the last page of each volume is the publisher’s sheet with date of printing, Blyth’s hanko (ink stamp), bookseller’s plate and other details, which are normally missing.

Blyth is best known as a major interpreter of haiku to English speakers. These four volumes, first published from 1949 to 1952, helped introduce haiku to the post World War II world, and his translations and writings on the subject were a crucial impetus in triggering the creation of haiku outside of Japan. Many contemporary Western writers of haiku were introduced to the genre through his works. These include the San Francisco and Beat Generation writers, such as Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, and Allen Ginsberg, as well as J.D. Salinger.

Each volume with numerous full page black and white and colour illustrations. Volume 4 contains a fold-out graph depicting the evolution of English and Japanese literature, at rear. Many
haiku in Blyth’s translation are presented alongside their original Japanese characters. 
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Price HK$ 4,500

1914 and Other Poems - Rupert Brooke

1915 - Sidgwick & Jackson Limited, London - First Edition
A fine first edition of Brooke’s second and most famous collection of poetry, published two months after his death, which contains, amongst others, both ‘The Soldier’ and ‘The Dead’. With portrait frontispiece from a photograph taken by Sherrill Schell in 1913, and the delicate and scarce dust jacket which is in two pieces but shows well on the book itself. Housed in later quarter red morocco slipcase.

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home
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Price HK$ 12,000

Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, in the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773 - James Bruce of Kinnaird

1790 - Printed by J. Ruthven, Edinburgh - First Edition
A superior set of the first edition, one of the great annals of travel and explorations in Africa, a cornerstone of any collection of Africana. In addition to the three large folding copper-engraved maps, there are fifty-eight copper-engraved plates (four of which are maps or battle plans) and seven pages of Ethiopic language.

A Scotsman with ability and education, James Bruce, 1730-1794, was appointed the English consul to Algiers, serving for two years before resigning to roam North Africa investigating architectural ruins. Following this preparation, he set off to fulfil his great ambition, to discover the source of the Nile. His travels into Abyssinia, a remarkable solo undertaking, resulted in the present body of work which not only includes the narrative of his travels but also comments on the history and religion of Egypt, an account of Indian trade, a history of Abyssinia and other such material.

The DNB notes that while Bruce would not be confused with "a great scholar or a judicious critic..., few books of equal compass are equally entertaining; and few such monuments exist of the energy and enterprise of a single traveller." The many engraved plates are finely executed, and present primarily the flora and fauna encountered by Bruce on his travels.
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Price HK$ 50,000

The Belgrave Manor Crime - Moray Dalton

1935 - Sampson Low, London - First Edition
A rare title in the complete, bright and thus rare dust jacket, by one of the lesser known of Golden Age detective fiction writers.

Featuring the psychic investigator Cosmo Thor, Detective Inspector Hugh Collier and Superintendent Cardew, in a case that threatens to ruin Collier’s career.
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Price HK$ 6,200

The Strange Case of Harriet Hall - Moray Dalton

1936 - Sampson Low, London - First Edition
A fine first edition in near fine and scarce dust jacket.

Featuring Inspector Hugh Collier, of the C.I.D.
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Price HK$ 3,800

Les Grands Vins de Bourgogne - R. Danguy, Ch. Aubertin

1892 - Librairie H. Armand, Dijon - First Edition
The first edition of this early, scarce and ‘invaluable reference work on the state of Burgundy's Côte-d'Or vineyards and wines in the late 19th century’ [Vineana].

Complete with the large folding map of the vineyards of Burgundy (73x39cm) by A. Casper and E. Marc, and two folding engravings of the ‘
Grande vue de la ville de Dijon’ and ‘Grand Vue de la ville de Beaune’ (both from from 18th century engravings designed by Lallemand).

A comprehensive work, over 740 pages, with long notes on the wines, the vineyards and their owners. Profusely illustrated throughout with an additional 34 full page plates and 45 half page plates, mostly of the châteaux, vineyards and cellars, as well as inserted advertisements.
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Price HK$ 9,500

A History of the Shanghai Paper Hunt Club 1863-1930 - C. Noel Davis, Edmund Toeg (illustrator)

1930 - Kelly and Walsh Limited, Shanghai - First Edition
A remarkable insight into one of the important social events in Shanghai, from the late 1800s through to the 1930s. Introduced by the British, frustrated by the lack of animals for a proper hunt, the paper hunt involved one horseman who would ride ahead of the others to act as the hunted prey, marking the trail with coloured paper. One of the main rules was that only Mongolian ponies were accepted as a valid ride.

The list of participants and winners is a veritable who’s-who of influential traders, bankers and diplomats. Founded in the 1860s in the midst of the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64), the Club thrived through revolutions, warlord control, communist insurgency and suppression, the Japanese occupation and civil war.

Containing anecdotes, poems, songs, black and white photographs including a long fold-out panorama photograph by Ah Fong of the
Meet of the Christmas hunt 1929, drawings and cartoons by Edmund Toeg (including a colour fold-out of the winners of the hunt challenge cup 1910-30).

Complete with six large-scale folding maps of the riding and hunting country.
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Price HK$ 9,000

Results 1 - 8 of 33 results