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ATTIRET, Jean-Denis.

A Particular Account of the Emperor of China’s Gardens near Pekin:

in a Letter from F. Attiret, a French Missionary, now employ'd by that Emperor to Paint the Apartments in those Gardens, to his friend at Paris. Translated from the French, by Sir Harry Beaumont [pseudonym of Joseph Spence].

Published: London: R. Dodsley, and sold by M. Cooper, 1752

Stock code: 109230

Price: £1,250

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First edition in English and first separate edition of Attiret’s “influential account of the emperor of China’s gardens” (ODNB); it was originally published as part of Lettres édifiantes et curieuses écrites des missions étrangères par quelques missionnaires de la compagnie de Jésus (Paris: Guérin, 1749). “Jean-Denis Attiret [1702-1768] arrived in China in 1738 to join the French Jesuit mission and from 1739 spent the remainder of his life serving at the Qing court as a painter. He was the first Western traveller to perceive the spatial mechanism that determined the design of Chinese gardens. In a letter written from Beijing in 1743 and published in 1749, Attiret offered an enthusiastic description of the imperial park of Yuanming yuan (Garden of Perfect Brightness) under the reign of the Qianlong emperor… Attiret’s account is the most detailed description of a Chinese imperial park to reach Europe in the eighteenth century and thus provided an essential source for Western knowledge of the gardens of China” (Bianca Maria Rinaldi ed., Ideas of Chinese Gardens: Western Accounts, 1300-1860, 2016, Chapter 9).

Octavo (202 x 120 mm). Recent dark grey wrappers, red speckled edges. A little staining to half-title and final leaf. A very good copy.

Bibliography: Cordier I, p. 123.

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