First edition of Narrative of the Earl of Elgin’s Mission to China and Japan by Laurence Oliphant.
Octavo, [two volumes], xiii, , 492pp; xi, , 496pp. Full brown tree calf, decorative gilt border on covers. Title in gilt over black morocco spine labels, five raised bands with gilt embellishments. All edges marbled. Marbled endpapers with turn-ins stamped in blind and decorative gilt board edges. Solid text blocks, light wear to corners and spine. Faint dampstain affecting lower outer corner of frontispiece and half-title of Volume II, no impact to text block. Bookseller’s label on rear free endpapers. Light rubbing to gilt on spines, small chip at top of Volume II. Complete with 20 hand-colored lithographs, 5 fold-out maps, and numerous in-text wood engravings. (Löwendahl, 1224) (Western Travellers in China 70) An attractive, near fine set.
James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, served as High Commissioner and Plenipotentiary in China and the Far East, being sent there to help facilitate trade between this area and England. While there, he oversaw the end of the first phase of the Second Opium War with the signing of the British portion of the Treaty of Tianjin in 1858. He was accompanied on this mission by the author, Laurence Oliphant, who served as his private secretary.