OGILBY, John (1600-1676), translator. - NIEUHOFF, Jan (1640-1672). An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham Emperour of China. London: by John Macock for the Author, 1669.
Folio (16 2/8 x 10 4/8 inches). Letterpress title-page printed in red and black. Engraved frontispiece title-page by Wenceslas Hollar, engraved portrait of Ogilby, double-page map of China, double-page plan of Canton, and 17 engraved plates by Holler and others, 121 engravings in the text, engraved and woodcut initials and head-pieces (light dampstaining to upper inner corner, a few marginal tears or chips, tiny hole in Dd1). Contemporary gilt paneled speckled calf (expertly rebacked preserving original spine, corners strengthened, extremities a bit scuffed).
Provenance: 19th-century bookplate of the Gloddeath Library, Mostyn Hall, sold Christie's London, 16 October 1974, lot 967; with the small library label of Wolfgang A. Herz, on the front pastedown, his sale "Important Voyages and Travels", 9th December 2009, lot 144.
First edition in English of Nieuhoff's definitive account of the Dutch embassy to Peking. The Dutch East India Company was keen to persuade the Emperor to open up the Chinese ports to the Dutch, and Nieuhoff joined Pieter van Goyer and Jacob de Keyser on the mission to visit the Emperor Chun-Chi. The work 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. Ogilby's translation includes excerpts from Kircher's "China monumentis" (1667).
Ogilby's translation of Nieuhoff's was the first of his 'travel' books, and its success inspired him to publish several more under his own name: the first, "Africa", appeared in 1670, "Atlas Japannensis" (1670), "America" (1671), "Atlas Chinensis" (1671), and "Asia" (1673). Ogilby had led a full and interesting life even before began printing this famous series of travel books. He was an investor in the Virginia Company lottery, a reknowned dancer, even owning his own dancing school and dancing before the King, founder and managing director of the first theatre in Dublin. Ogilby only turned to publishing after an accident left him lame and he was no longer able to dance, and the rise to power of Oliver Cromwell made frivolities like dancing unfashionable.
From the distinguished library of the Barons of Mostyn, probably collected by Sir Thomas Mostyn (1651 - 1700?), deputy-lieutenant for Caernarvonshire from ca1673 , sheriff of that county 1689, of Anglesey 1691-1692. "He has been described as 'a great collector of Welsh MSS. and much inclined to Welsh genealogy' (National Library of Wales). Cordier Sinica 2347; Lust 536; Wing N-1152; See Landwehr 543. Catalogued by Kate Hunter