BIRD, Isabella Lucy, as Mrs. J. F. Bishop.

The Yangtze Valley and Beyond.

an account of journeys in china, chiefly in the province of sze chuan and among the Man-Tze of the somo territory. with map and 116 illustrations. dedicated by permission to the marquess of salisbury.

London: John Murray, 1899 Stock Code: 143228
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First edition of this account of the "archetypal Victorian Lady Traveller's" (Robinson) 15 months and 8,000 miles of travels in China, concluding in 1897, and recounting "the most remarkable of her journeys" (ODNB). It is profusely illustrated and the photos were taken by the author herself.

Isabella Bird (1831-1904) was a remarkable woman who, once prescribed travels and fresh air for her health, became an explorer and journeyed until the year of her death. In 1891, she was the first woman to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Travelling to Korea in 1894, "she explored the Han River and crossed the Diamond mountains to the east coast of the peninsula. After a visit to Chinese Manchuria she went up the Yangtze (Yangzi), through Szechwan (Sichuan), to the Tibetan border" (ODNB). Of these adventures, she published two accounts: Korea and her Neighbours (1898), and the present work.

Her travels through China led her far into the country, reaching places that had never been visited by Europeans, "as she told a rapt audience of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in 1897, 'a foreigner going beyond Li-fan was a thing unheard of.' She explained that the object of her journey was to trace the western branch of the Min River, 'as well as an attempt to reach the source of the great Gold river'" (Woolf).

"Her decision and determination made her the most notable woman traveller of her time, setting standards which any traveller, man or woman, would be proud to attain" (ODNB).

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Octavo. Original green cloth, titles in gilt to spine and front board, red cloth pictorial onlay to spine with black design, red cloth onlay to front board blocked with gilt ideogram within single gilt fillet frame, top edge gilt, others untrimmed, partly unopened.


Halftone photographic frontispiece and 74 similar plates, folding map at end coloured in outline, numerous in-text illustrations, with the errata leaf.


Sine darkened, corners bumped, rubbed, the binding otherwise firm, hinges cracked but holding, occasional small marginal tears from careless opening, else internally clean and fresh; a very good copy.


Robinson pp. 81-3; Theakstone pp. 35-6; Jo Woolf, "Isabella Bird – free spirit and fearless explorer", 14 June 2015, on the Royal Scottish Geographical Society website, retrieved 11/09/20.


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