Raffles (Sir Thomas Stamford) The History of Java, LARGE PAPER COPY
LARGE PAPER COPY IN A PRESENTATION BINDING.
Raffles (Sir Thomas Stamford) The History of Java, FIRST EDITION, LARGE PAPER COPY, PRINTED ON BALSTON'S SUPERIOR PAPER, large folding map, 10 FINELY HAND COLOURED COSTUME PLATES AFTER WILLIAM DANIELL, 56 engraved and aquatint plates and 9 engraved text illustrations, 2 vols, large 4to, contemporary red straight grained morocco, full gilt panelled spine, watered silk end-papers, all edges gilt(some slight foxing & staining) London, 1817
Abbey,Travel 554. Bastin and Brommer 81. Tooley 391. Hill, Pacific Voyages 1413 (1844 edition). Prideaux 252.
Provenance: With the label of 19th century Indonesian book dealers G. Kolff & Co. of Weltevreden, Batav. [Jakarta 1858-1930].
A total of 900 copies were published, 250 in large paper royal quarto format on fine paper (watermarked ‘W. Balston’ ‘1814’ and ‘1815’) at £8.8s and 650 standard large quarto copies at £6.6s.
Two royal quarto (31.4 x 25.1 cm) volumes. pp.  xlviii 479  ;  viii 288 [3 population tables] cclx [1 Publisher’s announcement dated May, 1817]  [2 publisher’s advertisements] . Without half titles as was customary when finely bound, but with publisher’s ads to rear of volume II which are usually removed as well. Paper watermarked W. Balston 1814 and 1815, paper for hand-coloured plates watermarked J Whatman 1816.
A beautiful set of this landmark work, in stunning contemporary presentation full calf bindings. One of only 250 ‘large paper’ copies, printed on Balston’s superior paper. These copies were printed first and the impressions of the coloured plates are in an exceptionally bright state.
‘In 1817 appeared the monumental work of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. He was interested in every aspect of his subject, and devotes whole sections to Javan ethics, literature, poetry, music and musical instruments, drama, games of skill and methods of hunting, besides the more ordinary matters of interest, population, natural history, religion, antiquities, and the military system. At the end of the second volume a hundred and fifty pages are given up to the comparative vocabularies of Java and the neighbouring islands, and the whole is a unique monument erected by a great ruler to those over whom he rules, and incidentally, to his own honour, stands very high in its own class and the aquatint plates are full of interest’ - Prideaux.
‘The marriage of a scientifically original text with beautiful illustrations by an accomplished aquatint engraver resulted in a book about Indonesia of outstanding quality; indeed a masterpiece.’ - Bastin and Brommer.
Those illustrations include a large folding engraved Map of Java outlined in colour, ten finely hand coloured aquatint costume plates engraved by William Daniell who visited the island in 1785 and 1793, two soft-ground etched frontispieces, nine engraved vignettes, and fifty six black and white plates which include one map, seven of temples (one of which is double page), two musical scores, ten of alphabets and inscriptions, one folding statistical table, eight of weapons and tools, two of musical instruments and masks, and twenty five others.
‘The publication of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles's The History of Java in 1817 marked a new sophistication in the recording of British experiences of the island. Providing a depth of analysis and breadth of subject matter, Raffles's publication was not the fairly simplistic diaristic account of adventure and opinion that had characterised many earlier British publications on Southeast Asia, but a highly detailed, minutely observed and handsomely illustrated study - Sarah Tiffin, Raffles and the Barometer of Civilisation.
Raffles was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Java in 1811 when the island and its dependancies were occupied by Lord Minto following the Annexation of the Netherlands by Napoleon. During the next five years he extended he area of European control and reorganised the Dutch colonial system in the island, as well as making an extensive study of the history, customs and languages of the region. From 1818 to 1824 he went on to serve as the British resident at Bencoolen in Sumatra.
Raffles is said to have taken seven months completing the History. He was knighted by the Prince regent on 29 May 1817, after the publication of the book.