Barrow accompanied Macartney’s mission to the court of China in 1792 as his private secretary, and the present account of the country is one of the best illustrated English travels on China. The eight plates are from drawings by William Alexander who accompanied the embassy and later published his own work. The strict exclusion of Europeans by the Chinese Emperors had left China very much terra incognita to the western world well into the nineteenth century. Barrow was an excellent observer, and the text contains a number of descriptions of Chinese artefacts and novelties. Among these a plate of musical instruments, extensive renditions of Chinese melodies into western notation, and a long description, with illustration of the abacus.
Second edition. 4to., illustrated with 8 engraved plates (1 folding), of which 5 are hand-coloured aquatints after William Alexander, nineteenth century calf gilt, some rubbing to covers and spine, red morocco label.
Abbey Travel 531; Cordier 2388-9; Tooley 84; Hill I, 15.