Sketches of Chinese Life & Character - William R. Snow 1860 - Dickinson Bros., 114 A rare large folio of 17 hand-coloured lithographic plates by M. & N. Hanhart from sketches by William R. Snow. Some plates heightened with gum-arabic. Originally sold in three parts, probably loose for ease of framing, and housed in wrappers. It may be assumed that the plate of ‘The Game of Shuttlecock’ was used for that purpose as it is not included here. The three sets of original wrappers have been bound in, and the plate titles are as follows:

Part I.
Going to a Picnic, Mode of Travelling A Long Journey in China.
Rival Caravans, The Desert of To Day.
A Clean Shave.
A Slap on the Back, More Pleasant Than it Looks.
How This Little Pig Went to Market.
Ye Civil Force.

Part II.
Costermongers - Victoria Street, Hong Kong (named as ‘Canton’ in the Plate List).
Chinese funeral - Mode of Carrying the Coffin.
Musicians and Flag Bearers in Advance of a Funeral.
Sketch from the Wall on the Morning after the Grand Attack.
Dinner Hour of a Chinese Family on Board a Chop on the Canton River.

Part III.
On the Wall, Canton.
A Group of Coolies at a Portable Soup Kitchen.
Military Train Coolies Going Home.
Sketch of a Mandarin, Grand Stand Canton.
Astonishment of Ye Natives at Red Hair.
A Group of Coolies on the Road at Dinner.
  William Snow (1834-1907) - English artist William Roger Snow was born in London, on March 6, 1834. He attended Cambridge University in 1854 He reputedly squandered his inheritance and in 1855 at the age of twenty-one he joined the army. Over the next twenty years he would visit in a number of countries including the Crimea and Hong Kong. William Snow visited Hong Kong in 1858. Influenced by his stay in Hong Kong he published his first work, Sketches of Chinese Life & Character in 1860. He also exhibited paintings during the 1860s in London. He would later become quite a recognised painter but often using an alias. [with thanks to Wattis Fine Art]

Snow's army career was ruined in 1875 when he abandoned his wife and duties (following an affair with an Irish actress) and disappeared rather than be transferred by the embarrassed British military. For the next several years Snow lived in England under the alias Clifford Merton. He produced a prolific amount of work during this time, both as an author and illustrator of adult and children's literature… Sometime between 1880 and 1881 his formerly abandoned wife discovered his identity as Clifford Merton. After further scandal and subsequent divorce, Snow/Merton once again disappeared and changed his name to Richard André… In addition to writing and illustrating his own books, André eventually branched out into the photography and printing industry and became a successful businessman." [Richard André Papers, University of Southern Mississippi]

References: Toyo Bunko Archive,
Digital Silk Road : Books on Central Asian Expeditions between 1875-1935, LFc-9 (the copy of George Ernest Morrison, with his bookplate, front wrappers bound in, final rear wrapper bound in, plates are two tone lithographs without colouring, plates are foxed and with water stains to corners, part III plate includes ‘Dickinson Bros....’ and ‘M&N Hanhart...’ but not ‘W.R. Snow Delt.’ text.). Not in Abbey, Travel, Lust, Western Books on China, Wittockiana, Western Travellers in China, or Löwendahl, China Illustrata Nova.

Large folio (binding size 55x38.5cm, plate size 53.7x37.5cm), pp. [4] [2 (front wrapper to part I)] [6 sheets of colour plates] [2 (rear wrapper of Part I)]; [2 (front wrapper to part II)] [5 sheets of colour plates ] [2 (rear wrappers of Part II)]; [2 (front wrapper to part III)] [6 sheets of colour plates] [2 (rear wrappers of Part III)] [2].

Parts I & II, text noted on each plate - ‘W.R. Snow, delt.’; ‘M & N Hanhart, Impt.’; ‘Dickinson Bros. Liths. 114, New Bond Street’.
Part III, text noted on first plate - ‘M& N Hanhart, Impt.’, and text noted on other plates - ‘W.R. Snow, delt.’; ‘M& N Hanhart, Impt.’; ‘Dickinson Bros. Liths. 114, New Bond Street’.
  Folio bound in three quarter burgundy morocco over matching cloth, front cover lettered in gilt, spine in six compartments, marbled endpapers (front free endpaper missing?)   Condition: Plates clean, one or two with small closed tears to edges which have been repaired, none are affecting the plates, wrappers toned and with repaired tears, binding with light rubbing to spine and corners, repaired tear to front cloth.   Ref: 109650   Price: HK$ 140,000