Fair highlight from Asia Bookroom


The Grandeur of the Gorges. Fifty Photographic Studies, With Descriptive Notes, of China's Great Waterway, The Yangtze Kiang, Including Twelve Hand-Coloured Prints.  

Mennie, Donald. (From Photographs by).  

50 full page tipped-in plates by Donald Mennie of which 38 are photogravures and 12 are hand coloured silver gelatin plates. Each plate has an accompanying page of text by Lieutenant Commander Carey and is illustrated with a sketch by Lieutenant Colonel H.G. Gandy underneath the text. Plate XXVI has a neat ink note ('Looking from bridge Plate XXII'). 

A large format 30 x 21.3cm silver gelatin photograph which appears likely to be an original Mennie print is loosely inserted. It shows a view taken from a vantage point high up on one of the cliffs showing the Yangtze running through the gorges and a steamer plying its way through the water. A further five snapshots (9.7 x 14.5cm) showing scenes taken from the river of Windbox Gorge and Icheng Gorge accompany the larger image. Each of the snapshots is neatly captioned on the reverse in pencil. 

Bookplate and inscription front endpapers, some occasional spotting, corners and head and tail of spine little rubbed, lower edge very lightly bumped causing some barely visible creasing along the lower edges throughout. Stain in blank outer margin three leaves. Excellent copy in stunning colour pictorial woven silk boards, bevel edges, presented in original card board torn at one corner. The box has given excellent protection over the years and the volume and the photographs are in excellent condition. A stunning copy. Number 283 of a limited edition of 1000 copies. Watson. Kelly & Walsh. Shanghai. 1926. 

This beautiful book is made up of photographs taken "during two trips on the Upper Yangtze and both show the river at low level season. Although the first journey by steamer from Ichang to Chungking proved not altogether unproductive of results, it was evident that more time, study and luck in weather conditions, would be necessary in any attempt to photograph the Gorges. The second journey occupied nearly four weeks by native boat (Kua Tzu) through the district between Ichang and Wan Hsien..." 

Provenance: From collection of Mr Eric Price and then by descent. Eric Price, an Englishman, was an old China hand who worked initially for Butterfield & Swire, in Shanghai, Hankow, Tientsin and Harbin in 1925-28. After the war he worked in Hong Kong and was part of the team who rebuilt Butterfield and Swire after the destruction caused during the war. He later worked in Singapore. Eric Price is mentioned several times in "Beyond Lion Rock: The Story of Cathay Pacific Airways" - Gavin Young 2012 and also in "The Blue Funnel Legend: A History of the Ocean Steam Ship Company, 1865–1973" - Malcolm Falkus. Springer 2016. 

AU$6500. (approx HK$ 36,000) 

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