The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World. - Captain James Cook

1821 - Longman, London
A remarkable seven volume set of all of Cook’s three voyages. Illustrated with twenty five striking aquatint plates, including frontispieces in each volume, large folding map, and a table.

‘The famous accounts of Captain Cook’s three voyages form the basis for any collection of Pacific books. In three great voyages Cook did more to clarify the geographical knowledge of the southern hemisphere than all his predecessors had done together. He was really the first scientific navigator and his voyages made great contributions to many fields of knowledge’. [Hill]
 
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Price HK$ 75,000



The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook, with "The Death of Captain Cook" Plate - James Cook, John Hawkesworth, James King

1773 - Strahan, London - Second Edition, First Edition, Second Edition
A complete set of the best possible editions, superbly bound in full tree calf and with the additional ‘Death of Captain Cook’ drawn by the John Weber who witnessed the dispute and ensuing fight. Eight quarto volumes and the elephant folio volume of plates. Magnificently illustrated with two hundred and five engraved charts and plates, many of which are double page or larger.

There is no greater set of travel works, Cook was the first scientific navigator, these three voyages made great contributions to numerous fields of knowledge,, and did more to clarify the geographical knowledge of the southern hemisphere than his predecessors had done together [Hill].

The first voyage is in its second and best edition, complete with the ‘
Directions for placing the cuts’ and the ‘Chart of the Straights of Magellan’, and with the new Preface containing Hawkesworth's virulent eight-page reply to Dalrymple's whining reviews of the first edition, and the whole volume revised by the voyage's astronomer William Wales.

The third voyage is in its second and best edition, with the printing by Hughs (rather than Strahan who printed the first edition) with the text itself entirely re-set. Isaac Smith presenting a set on behalf of Cook's widow in 1821 noted that '
I am desired by Mrs Cook to request your acceptance of the 4 books sent herewith being her Husbands last Voyage round the World, as a mark of her respect the letter press of the second edition being much superior to the first both in paper & letter press' (quoted by Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography, 85). King George III's copy of the official account, preserved in the British Library, is also an example of this second edition. This particular set with variant title pages, dated correctly, but without edition statement or vignette of Royal Society medal. 
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Price HK$ 430,000



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

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

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.

‘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).
 
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Price HK$ 37,000



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

1874 - American Presbyterian Mission Press, Shanghai - First Edition
‘Williams (1812-1884) began work on this dictionary in 1863, taking almost 10 years to organize his 53.000 examples and phrases and 12.527 characters. Joseph Edkins contributed a section on 'Ancient sounds' in the introduction and was responsible for lists of 'Old sounds* inserted at the head of each syllable. ‘ - Lowendahl.

‘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