STAUNTON, Sir George Leonard (1737-1801) drawn by J. BARROW engraved by B. BAKER
View of the City of Ten-Tchoo from the anchorage of the Hindostan in the Strait of Mi-A-Tau bearing South-west
London: Published by George Nicol, April 12th, 1796. Engraving. Printed on wove Whatman paper watermarked 1794. In excellent condition with the exception of being trimmed within the platemark on lower edge of left margin. Image size: 20 x 28 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 23 1/8 x 30 1/8 inches.
This sweeping series of views is from Staunton's seminal text "An Authentic Account of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China", which was a record of the Earl of Macartney's embassy to the Emperor of China.
Macartney was dispatched to Beijing in 1792, traveling via Madeira, Tenerife, Rio de Janeiro, the Cape of Good Hope and Indonesia. He was accompanied by Staunton, and a retinue of suitably impressive size, including Staunton's 11-year-old son who was nominally the ambassador's page. On the embassy's arrival in China it emerged that the 11-year-old was the only European member of the embassy able to speak Mandarin, and thus the only one able to converse with the Emperor. The embassy, the first such to China, had two objectives: the first to register with the Emperor, British displeasure at the treatment that the British merchants were receiving from the Chinese, the second to gain permission for a British minister to be resident in China. The first objective was achieved, the second was not. Macartney was twice granted an audience with the Emperor and in December 1793 he was sumptuously entertained by the Chinese viceroy in Canton, and returned to England via Macao and St. Helena, arriving in September 1794. This important text produced some of the earliest accurate maps of the interior of China and provided many invaluable geographical and cultural observations. This rare print depicts the Shantung Peninsula, and includes one harbor view and two elevations printed on one sheet. The top elevation depicts Cape Macartney and Staunton's Head from the north east, while the middle elevation shows Cape Macartney and Cape Gower from the north west. At the bottom is a view of the city of Ten-Tchoo-Foo from the ocean.
Brunet V,525; Cordier Sinica 2381-2383; Cox I, 344; Hill p.280; Lust 545.