OGILBY, John (translator and publisher, 1600-1676). - Johann NIEUHOFF (1630-1672); and Olfert DAPPER (1639-1689)
An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham Emperor of China ... [With:] Atlas Chinensis: Being a Second Part of a Relation of Remarkable Passages in Two Embassies from the East-India Company of the United Provinces to the Vice-Roy Singlamong and General Taising Lipovi, and to Konchi, Emperor of China and East-Tartary ...
London: printed by the Author, 1672; Tho. Johnson for the Author, 1671. 2 volumes, folio. (16 1/8 x 10 1/2 inches). [Nieuhoff:] Title in red and black. Engraved additional title, double-page map of China, 18 plates (1 double-page), 94 engraved illustrations within the text. [Dapper:] Title in red and black. Engraved frontispiece, 40 engraved plates and maps (2 double-page maps, 38 plates [31 double-page, 1 folding]), 57 engraved illustrations within the text.
Contemporary calf, expertly rebacked to style, spine with raised bands in seven compartments, red morocco lettering piece in the second, the other with an overall repeat decoration in gilt
Scarce set of Ogilby's English editions of Nieuhoff's and Dapper's accounts of the early Dutch embassies to China: the most comprehensive descriptions of China in the 17th century and among the most beautifully illustrated works on the region from that period.
The first work by Nieuhoff first appeared in Dutch in 1665. It describes the embassy to China led by Pieter van Goyer and Jakob de Keyser on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. Setting out from Batavia, they arrived in Canton on 17 March 1656, and were in Nanking by 17 July. Chinese officialdom, court etiquette and the opposition of the Jesuits (including Father Adams) conspired to prevent any major trading concessions being granted by the Emperor Chun-Chi. The embassy returned to Batavia on 31 March 1657. Nieuhoff, an eyewitness in his position as Steward to the Ambassadors, includes many incidental remarks on the manners and customs of the Chinese, together with a second part comprising a general description of the Chinese Empire. The fine plates and illustrations show town views in China, Tibet and Tartary, together with subjects such as costume and natural history, most of which "appear to have been based on Nieuhoff's own sketches" (Lach and Van Kley, p. 484). Ogilby's translation, first published in 1669 and with a second edition, as here, published in 1672, includes excerpts from Kircher's China Monumentis (1667). The second edition contains the same plates as the first, though is entirely reset in a slightly larger format (i.e. to be more uniform with the Atlas Chinensis).
Following van Goyer and de Keyser's embassy in 1656-1657 to the Grand Tartar Cham Emperor of China, the Dutch dispatched a number of subsequent embassies. The accounts of these various journeys are here collected by Dapper, most notably including the 1663-64 expedition along the Fukien coast by Admiral Balthasar Boort and the 1667 embassy led by Pieter Van Hoorn. Van Hoorn "reached Peking by way of Fukien province and stayed there from [June 20, 1667] to [August 5, 1667] ... Van Hoorn's embassy failed to secure the trading privileges from the K'ang-hsi emperor and actually led in 1668 to the revocation of all Dutch trade in China" (Howgego G85). Dapper's account was first published in Amsterdam in 1670. The following year, John Ogilby published the first English translation. Interestingly, on the title page of the present work, Ogilby misattributes the original Dutch work to Montanus instead of Dapper, though Lach and Van Kley suggests that his "confusion is understandable. Montanus and Dapper seem to have formed a partnership for the compilation of these large, illustrated volumes on far-away lands" (Lach and Van Kley, p. 491). Like Nieuhoff's earlier work, Dapper's account is beautifully illustrated with views and maps, and notably include four engravings of Buddhist iconography "obviously of Chinese provenance" (Lach and Van Kley, p. 491).
Together, Ogilby's translations of Nieuhoff and Dapper form the most comprehensive English descriptions of China in the 17th century. The English editions are both beautifully printed and extensively illustrated. Beyond their accounts of specific embassies, each work includes general descriptions of China's government, religion, customs and history. Based in part on prior works, including those by Trigault, Semedo, Martini and Kircher, each work also contains information unique to the observations from the accounts of each embassy.
Sets comprised of both separately-issued works are very rare.
[Nieuhoff:] Cordier Sinica III.2347; cf. Cox I, p.325; Lust 536; Wing N-1153; Howgego G85; Lach and Van Kley, Asia in the making of Europe , book 1, volume 3, pp. 483-484. [Dapper:] Landwehr 543; Cordier Sinica III, 2349; Cox I, p.326; Lowndes 1719; Lust 525; Wing D-242; Howgego G85; Lach and Van Kley, Asia in the making of Europe , book 1, volume 3, pp. 490-491.