CLARK, Robert Sterling and Arthur de Carle SOWERBY. Through Shên-Kan; The Account of the Clark Expedition in North China, 1908-9 … Edited by Major C.H. Chepmell. London and Leipzig, T. Fisher Unwin, 1912.
4to. Original tan cloth, vignette of a rider on horseback blocked in black to upper cover, lettered in black; pp. , iii, 7-8, 247; map frontispiece, large colour-printed folding map in pocket at rear, highly illustrated with plates after photographs, 6 mounted colour plates by Sowerby, each with captioned tissue-guard; cloth a little darkened, bookplate removed from front fly-leaf, light spotting to folding map, due to offsetting from endpapers, otherwise a very good copy.
First edition. This is a wonderfully illustrated and detailed work, delineating an expedition undertaken to record the natural history of the area, and to take time for regular hunting expeditions. Incorporated into the text is a series of natural history essays by the authors and their colleagues on the journey (most by Sowerby and Charles Rothschild), not to mention descriptions of terrain, peoples and incidents en route. The expedition from Taiyuan in Northern Shanxi to the Shensi and Kansu provinces of northern China was paid for by Robert Sterling Clark, heir to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune. Clark was joined by the naturalist and writer, Arthur de Carle Sowerby and here they recount their travels along with observations on geography, zoology, ornithology, astronomy, geology, meteorology, and culture. The book is an attempt to 'carry the imagination of the general reader - by pen, brush, and film - into the very heart of the Celestial Empire; and further, to set down with accuracy, and in as complete a way as possible, such facts and figures as may form a solid basis for the future explorer in North China (Introduction).