PIGGOTT, Sir Francis Taylor (1852–1925). Studies in the Decorative Art of Japan. London: B.T. Batsford, 1910.

$ 75.00

4to., (11 x 8 4/8 inches). With 32 plates, numbered to 33, but without plate 16 as usual, many in colour. Original pattered cloth (a bit rubbed).

Provenance: with the bookplate of the Royal Society of Arts Library bookplate on the front paste-down.

Piggott was a career colonial judge, first posted in 1887 to a three-year term as constitutional adviser to the Japanese prime minister Hirobumi Ito. "In 1893 he was secretary to the attorney-general, Sir Charles Russell, for the Bering Sea arbitration, and later that year he accepted the post of procureur- and advocate-general of Mauritius. It is for his turbulent career as chief justice of Hong Kong (1905–12), however, that Piggott is best known... Piggott was genial but tactless, pompous but lacking in dignity, learned but inaccurate, industrious yet impecunious, and admired by a few while reviled by many. His record as a judge is sound, though he failed as a judicial administrator and there were many allegations of his partiality on the bench. Eventually he was required to retire soon after reaching the age of sixty. This was a rude shock to him, even though an amendment, known colloquially as ‘the Piggott Relief Ordinance’, had been made to the local pensions legislation precisely to facilitate his removal. He was chronically short of money; indeed in 1922 he was adjudged bankrupt, with creditors in Hong Kong alone owed £15,000. On losing his Hong Kong post he sought employment in Peking (Beijing), but the Foreign Office advised the Chinese government not to appoint him. His return to Hong Kong to practise at the private bar was considered almost scandalous, and when he left for England in 1914 his passage was paid for out of the vote for the relief of destitutes" (Peter Wesley-Smith for DNB). Catalogued by Kate Hunter