First edition. Publisher's original maroon cloth with gilt decoration to the upper board and titles to the spine. Top edge gilt. Illustrated with 84 black and white photographic plates. A better than very good copy, the binding firm and bright with a little rubbing to the boards, a small area of marking to the head of the upper board, and minor wear to the spine ends. The contents with occasional light foxing are otherwise clean throughout and free from any previous owners' inscriptions or stamps. The plates, other than the occasional mark to the margins, remain fresh. An excellent example.
John Thomson (1837-1921), the pioneering Scottish photographer, geographer, and traveller, was one of the first to document the people and landscape of China for publication and dissemination to the Western world. After establishing a studio in Hong Kong in 1868, he travelled over 6,500 kilometres through China, capturing all aspects of Chinese life and culture, journeying from the southern trading ports of Hong Kong and Canton to the cities of Peking and Shanghai, to the Great Wall in the north, and deep into central China. Between 1870 and 1871 he visited the Fukien region, travelling up the Min River by boat, and then on to Amoy and Swatow. He then travelled to the island of Formosa with the missionary Dr. James Laidlaw Maxwell, landing first in Takao in early April 1871. The pair visited the capital, Taiwanfu, before travelling on to the aboriginal villages on the west plains of the island. After leaving Formosa, Thomson spent the next three months journeying 3,000 miles up the Yangtze River, reaching Hupeh and Szechuan. Thomson's travels were frequently perilous, visiting remote, almost unpopulated regions far inland. Many of the people he encountered had never seen a Westerner or a camera before, and he faced significant challenges in transporting his bulky equipment, including fragile glass plates and potentially explosive chemicals. His subject matter varied enormously: from humble beggars and street people to Mandarins, princes and senior government officials; from remote monasteries to Imperial Palaces; and from simple rural villages to breathtaking landscapes. The present work forms a superbly illustrated account of this journey, extensively detailing his groundbreaking travels.
Stock code: 18269