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A Lady’s Visit to Manilla and Japan.

Published: London: Hurst and Blackett, 1863

Stock code: 89859

Price: £1,250

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First edition. An interesting and uncommon account of a wide-ranging tour of the Far East by Anna D’Almeida, the wife of William Barrington D’Almeida, a Singapore-born British diplomat and businessman. Anna had accompanied him to his postings in Hong Kong and Java – William’s two-volume an account of Java was published the following year – after which they travelled extensively through the Philippines, parts of the coast of China during the Taiping rebellion, and Japan. D’Almeida’s account of Manilla at this date is probably unique in English, and hers is a very early account of Japan following its “opening” by Commodore Perry. Inevitably the book has become the subject of considerable academic interest, see for example Seija Jalagin’s “Gendered Images – Western Women on Japanese Women” in Alenius, Fält, and Jalagin Looking at the Other: Historical Study of Images in Theory and Practice, and Clara Sarmento “Distant Neighbours and Familiar Strangers. The Intercultural Narrative of A Lady’s Visit to Manilla and Japan” in Arcadia, 46, 2. Intriguing ownership inscription to the front free endpaper, “Ch[arles] Griswold, 6 Rue de Presbourg, Champs Élysées, Paris 1864”. the address was that of William L. Dayton while he was American ambassador to France, and at the time of purchase Griswold was US consul to Manilla.

Octavo. Original red pimple-grained cloth, title gilt to spine, large gilt block of Filipino cock-fighters to front board, blind panels to both boards, drab surface-paper endpapers. Chromolithographic frontispiece of “The Bay and Part of the Town of Nagasaki” after a drawing by the author’s husband, title-page vignette of a “Japanese Tea-House Girl”. A little rubbed and soiled, spine skilfully repaired head and tail, light toning, a very good copy.

Bibliography: Cordier Japonica 564; Cordier Sinica 2128.

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