Sketches of China and The Chinese - Auguste Borget

1842 - Tilt & Bogue, London - First English Edition (issued simultaneously with the French edition, plates for both were printed by Goupil et Vibert in Paris)
Complete set of this renowned and highly prized collection of plates on China, including views of Hong Kong, Macao, and Canton.

Tinted lithographic title page and thirty two sepia tinted lithographic plates on 25 sheets, together with letterpress text and title page, in later binding by Bayntun-Riviere.

‘The feeling of superiority to the Chinese, so characteristic of accounts from the 1840s, is absent here. The artist observes with a fresh eye.’ - Lust,
Western Travellers in China. 
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Price HK$ 250,000

1857 to 1858
The original 320 page hand-written journal of Captain Robert Jenkins, during his time as Commander of HMS Actaeon for the year 1857 and HMS Comus in 1857, both ships active off the coast of China, mostly around Canton. Included is a hand drawn and water coloured sketch of Chinese villagers being forced to kowtow to the Union Jack. Finely bound in contemporary black calf and brass locks.

HMS Actaeon was commissioned in 1857 to serve as a survey vessel off the coast of China, under the command of Captain William Thornton Bate. She was present at the bombardment of Canton in 1857,where Bate was shot and killed on 29th. December. Captain Robert Jenkins took over the command of the ship and his journal refers to the bombardment of Canton, surveying factories, disputes over land between British and Chinese merchants. It also covers skirmishes with armed junks and defence of the Barrier. Locations include Hong Kong ,Canton, Macao and Amoy.

According to the Journal it appears that Jenkins was wounded seriously on June 30th 1858, and on September 16th ‘Joined Commander J Ward, [vice?] Captain R Jenkins discharged to Half Pay’, September 18th ‘I went to Shanghai with Commander Ward’, from wence Jenkins travelled to Hong Kong, Singapore, Penang, Galli, Aden, Alexandria, Malta, Gibralter, Falmouth, arriving in Southampton 19th November, one month after leaving Shanghai.

(29 x 23.5 cm) pp. [4] [144 (1st January to 31st December 1857 as Commander of HMS Comus)] [9 (Summary of year 1857 as Commander of HMS Comus)] [1]; [7(January 1-19th, last days as Commander of HMS Comus)] [1] [92 (January 20th to 19th November as Commander of HMS Actaeon)] [4] [8 (Summary of year 1857 as Commander of HMS Actaeon)] [50]. Paper watermarked ‘1852’ ‘Fellows’.

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Price HK$ 130,000

China and Japan, and A Voyage Thither; an Account of a Cruise in the Waters of the East Indies, China, and Japan - James B. Lawrence USMC

1870 - Case, Hartford - First American Edition
A scarce work in the form of letters covering Lawrence’s service in the marine corps on the US Steamer Wachuset, sailing from Boston in 1865 through the West Indies, via South America, the Cape and up to Java, arriving in Hong Kong to join the Asiatic Squadron in March 1866. The majority of this work covers his two years service mostly in China, with a short description of Japan of about 50 pages. Lawrence later served as a surgeon in the Army.

Very personal and interesting observations of the people, places and happenings throughout his tour. With nine full page illustrations.
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Price HK$ 2,900

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$ 18,000

SOLD - The Chater Collection - James Orange

1924 - Thornton Butterworth Limited, London - First Edition. Limited Edition, number 293 of 750 copies
A fine copy of the first edition in a complete example of the scarce and delicate dust jacket. The only work to comprehensively document this unsurpassed collection of 430 China trade paintings and engravings, including the historical context relating to each. Written and compiled by James Orange, curator of the collection prior to it’s tragic destruction and dispersal during the Japanese occupation (1941-5), the remaining 94 pieces are now housed in Hong Kong’s City Hall Museum and Art Gallery (formerly the Hong Kong Museum of Art).

In the publisher’s original dust jacket. Illustrated with eighteen colour plates, 242 monochrome images, three folding colour maps, six monochrome maps, and a photogravure portrait frontispiece of Sir C. P. Chater.

Sir Catchick Paul Chater, an Indian-born Armenian who arrived in Hong Kong in 1864, amassed a large collection of historical pictures and engravings relating to China which he gifted to the people of Hong Kong. Its backbone was the collection of Wyndham Law of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, and included oil paintings, water colours, sketches, prints and photographs, most of which are based on landscape scenes of the South China trading ports in the 18th and 19th centuries, and of British activities in China.

Chater became a successful merchant, was appointed ex officio member of both the Legislative Council and the Executive Council, and amassed a considerable fortune. Quite a few places in Hong Kong are named after him. These include the well known Chater Road, Chater Garden, Chater Building and Catchick Street. In 1926 his private collection of paintings and ceramics was bequeathed to the people of Hong Kong.

Shortly before the Japanese occupation in 1941, the Governor Sir Mark Aitchison Young ordered valuable works of Chater collection be hidden in the wine cellar and strong room in the basement of Government House. However the basement was considerably altered during the Japanese Occupation, the paintings were most probably discovered and removed by the Japanese troops. Legend has it that there was another secret store beside the basement. On December 8, 1941, Captain Batty-Smith, Aide-de-Camp to the Governor, had a secret meeting with von Kobza-nagy, a Hungarian expert and restorer, and Thomas Harmon of the Public Works Department. Later, documents reveal that valuable paintings of Chater Collection had their frames removed and then placed in sealed tins. They were buried in the garden of Government House. Only Batty-Smith, von Kobza-nagy and Thomas Harmon knew the exact location, but the mystery of the hidden paintings was buried after all three men died during the Japanese Occupation. After the war, several attempts were made to uncover these treasures in 1945 and 1976. In 1979, Government House underwent a major renovation project. The grounds were thoroughly searched, inside out and from the basement to nearby underground tunnels and air raid shelters, yet nothing was found.

There were still a number of paintings from the collection hanging on the walls of Government House when the Japanese captured Hong Kong. In 1942, it was renovated by the Japanese, and a local contractor Sinn Chi Lam, who took part in the project, found more twenty three in the rubbish dump. At considerable risk he smuggled them to his home village in Bao An, Guangdong, returning all to the Hong Kong Government after the war.

Another hero who saved the Chater Collection was F. A. Xavier, an ethnic Portuguese living in Hong Kong. Xavier discovered some pieces of the collection in an antique shop in Central. Later he searched all over Central and Western district for other pieces and managed to acquire 30 works. All these were handed to the Hong Kong Government. Alongside Government House, the Government Secretariat was also a store for some Chater paintings. On December 27, 1941, Japanese troops occupied the Government Secretariat for three days. After their retreat, hooligans looted the place. It remains a mystery whether these works were looted or taken away by the Japanese. The Chater ceramic collection of was moved to the Government Stores in North Point, but on discovery by the Japanese more than 980 pieces were shipped to Japan in 1942, however it is believed that the vessel carrying this special cargo sank somewhere in the northern waters of Hong Kong.

The Chater Collection, having sailed through long years of turmoil, has been reduced from more than 400 to a mere 94 pieces, and is currently housed in Hong Kong’s City Hall Museum and Art Gallery [2016].

[Reference: The Chater Legacy - A Selection of the Chater Collection, 2008.]
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Price HK$ 0

Queensland Past and Present 1897 - INSCRIBED - Thornhill Weedon

1898 - Edmund Gregory, Brisbane - Second Issue
A wonderful association copy with links to Hong Kong. Inscribed by Weedon to ‘G.F. Bowen’ – Sir George Ferguson Bowen – former Governor of Queensland (1859-1868) and later the Governor of Hong Kong (1883-1887), to front endpaper, and with the author’s ‘with compliment’s’ card laid in.

An uncommon copy of this informative review of Queensland, first published in 1896 and updated over the following years, undertaken while Weedon was compiler of statistics for the Registrar-General’s Office. Includes chapters on geography, population, production, trade, and a brief historical sketch, among others. Illustrated with a folding colour map of Queensland, together with sixteen full page black and white photographs.
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Price HK$ 2,000

Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai, and Other Treaty Ports of China - Arnold Wright, H. A. Cartwright

1908 - Lloyd’s Greater Britain Publishing Company, London - First Edition
A massive and exhaustive work, illustrated with well over a thousand black and white photographs. Containing 270 detailed pages dedicated to Hong Kong, 324 pages to Shanghai, and 150 pages to the remaining treaty ports.

Covering not only history, culture and government, but details on the major conglomerates, companies, industries, clubs (business, social and sporting), and leading figures of the day. There is nothing comparable.

Scarce and even more so in such exceptional condition in the original publisher’s gilt decorated binding.
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Price HK$ 45,000