[Three Maps of an English diplomatic mission to China]

Uncommon trio of maps highlighting an unsuccessful British diplomatic mission to China.

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In 1816, William Pitt Amherst was assigned a diplomatic mission by King George IV to establish commercial relations with the Qing Dynasty in China. Ultimately, Amerherst’s refusal to kowtow to the emperor in Pekin (Beijing) doomed the nearly 2 year undertaking, but it was not without its share of adventures.

On his way home, Amherst’s ship hit a reef and sunk in the Java Sea. His rescue ship stopped at the island of St. Helena on the way home, and there he met the exiled Emperor Napoleon. These three maps were engraved by Sydney Hall and published by Longmon, Hurst, Rees Orme & Brown in Narrative of a journey in the interior of China… in 1818.

The first, Map of that part of China through which the embassy passed on its Route from Pekin to Canton, shows the route of the party as it traveled through the interior of China from the port of Canton.

The second sheet, Map of the Route of the Embassy on the Yang-Tse-Kiang, shows details of a portion of the trip along the Yangtze River.

The third sheet, Chart of the China and Yellow Seas Showing the Track of the Alceste, shows the route of Amherst’s ship as it departed China and ultimately sank off the coast of Indonesia.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1818

Author: Sidney Hall

Sheet Width (in): 10.5

Sheet Height (in): 17.5

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Overall, the sheets are in good shape, with a bold impression printed on a strong sheet. They all variably show some level of foxing or discoloration associated with age, and creasing along the fold lines. Minor offsetting is also visible.

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