Premium pages left without account:

Auction Pricedatabase

Auction: Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books
was auctioned on: 4 June 2008
Upcoming auctions Auction Pricedatabase

GORDON, Charles George (1833-1885, 'Chinese Gordon') Series ...

Archive
Estimate: £40,000 - £60,000
ca. US$78,596 - US$117,894
Price realised:  £46,850
ca. US$92,056
Lot number 122, Views: 83

GORDON, Charles George (1833-1885, 'Chinese Gordon'). Series of approximately 98 autograph letters signed (two with signatures removed, five incomplete, lacking opening or concluding leaves) to his friend and fellow officer Charles Harvey (one to his wife), England, China, Galatz, Sudan, Mauritius, Holy Land and other places, 11 June 1859 - 6 October 1883, 11 of the letters illustrated with sketch-maps or diagrams, together approx. 375 pages, mostly 8vo , many letters docketed over text by recipient (some tearing or splitting at folds, especially of later letters, letter of 23 April 1873 torn through and roughly repaired with tape, letters of 1 July and 12 August 1875 much worn at folds, letters of 14 October 1876 and 26 December 1882 with an upper corner torn off but present), together with a transcript of a letter of 26 March 1877, a letter of Gordon's brother M.A. Gordon to 'Mr Harvey', 29 December 1890, urging him to censor the correspondence ('I should be so glad if you felt inclined to scratch out the names of the officers my brother wrote about in his letters' -- a suggestion which was not complied with) and two other letters. GORDON IN CHINA, EGYPT, PALESTINE AND THE SUDAN The correspondence covers virtually the whole of Gordon's active career, beginning when he was adjutant of the Chatham depot of the Royal Engineers and ending with him in the Holy Land, having passed through the looting of the Summer Palace in Peking (1862), the great exploits against the Taiping rebellion in the following years and the heady days as governor general of first Equatoria and later the whole of Sudan (1873-1879). Only his Crimean service and the last act in Khartoum are outside the range of the correspondence. The recipient, Charles Harvey, was a fellow officer in the Royal Engineers, and the letters contain frequent affectionate enquiries after not only Harvey and his family, but also after a large circle of other brother officers. The looting of the Summer Palace : Gordon's letters on his way out to China show an alert, though critical, interest in his surroundings, noting at Hong Kong 'The Chinese here do not care a fig for the defeat. What an absurd mode of speaking English they have got into in this colony!', and later 'The banks of the Pei Pao are exactly like the Thames at Barking'. Arriving in Peking on 25 October 1860, he complains 'You will see that the War is over, and such a rotten war as it has been', but reports with satisfaction 'I have got such a piece of plunder which I think will be for the mess. It is part of a throne out of the Summer Palace. It is of iron wood & some red wood beautifully carved. There was a splendid screen behind which I took for Mitchell the General & I kept the throne', providing illustrations of the screen and throne. On 13 November he refers to the dispatch of the throne, 'The other fellows (RE) want to present it as a joint gift. As I had the bother of getting it and carting it off ... I am not anxious for it ... It is valuable I think from the place it came from & the beauty of the carving. I hope you will not think me selfish about it, but I am rather sore at some of the other fellows taking such very good care not to present any of their own plunder & yet so willing to join in presenting mine'. Tsientsin and the Taiping rebellion : 'Tsientsin is a miserable place': Gordon's letters focus initially on his hard work and the difficulties he faces, not least with his men -- 'Grumbling, dirty, idle, helpless to a degree and without the smallest spark of Esprit de corps, what a brute the ordinary British Linesman is' -- but refers to the detailed reconnaisance of the district ('I have got such a plan of Tientsin nearly completed, it would astonish it') which was to play such an important role in his successful defeat of the Taiping forces in 1863-64. That hectically busy period is referred to in satisfied retrospect in a letter of 13 March 1864: 'My troubles are now over ... The Rebels hold
GORDON, Charles George (1833-1885, 'Chinese Gordon'). Series of approximately 98 autograph letters signed (two with signatures removed, five incomplete, lacking opening or concluding leaves) to his friend and fellow officer Charles Harvey (one to his wife), England, China, Galatz, Sudan, Mauritius, Holy Land and other places, 11 June 1859 - 6 October 1883, 11 of the letters illustrated with sketch-maps or diagrams, together approx. 375 pages, mostly 8vo , many letters docketed over text by recipient (some tearing or splitting at folds, especially of later letters, letter of 23 April 1873 torn through and roughly repaired with tape, letters of 1 July and 12 August 1875 much worn at folds, letters of 14 October 1876 and 26 December 1882 with an upper corner torn off but present), together with a transcript of a letter of 26 March 1877, a letter of Gordon's brother M.A. Gordon to 'Mr Harvey', 29 December 1890, urging him to censor the correspondence ('I should be so glad if you felt inclined to scratch out the names of the officers my brother wrote about in his letters' -- a suggestion which was not complied with) and two other letters. GORDON IN CHINA, EGYPT, PALESTINE AND THE SUDAN The correspondence covers virtually the whole of Gordon's active career, beginning when he was adjutant of the Chatham depot of the Royal Engineers and ending with him in the Holy Land, having passed through the looting of the Summer Palace in Peking (1862), the great exploits against the Taiping rebellion in the following years and the heady days as governor general of first Equatoria and later the whole of Sudan (1873-1879). Only his Crimean service and the last act in Khartoum are outside the range of the correspondence. The recipient, Charles Harvey, was a fellow officer in the Royal Engineers, and the letters contain frequent affectionate enquiries after not only Harvey and his family, but also after a large circle of other brother officers. The looting of the Summer Palace : Gordon's letters on his way out to China show an alert, though critical, interest in his surroundings, noting at Hong Kong 'The Chinese here do not care a fig for the defeat. What an absurd mode of speaking English they have got into in this colony!', and later 'The banks of the Pei Pao are exactly like the Thames at Barking'. Arriving in Peking on 25 October 1860, he complains 'You will see that the War is over, and such a rotten war as it has been', but reports with satisfaction 'I have got such a piece of plunder which I think will be for the mess. It is part of a throne out of the Summer Palace. It is of iron wood & some red wood beautifully carved. There was a splendid screen behind which I took for Mitchell the General & I kept the throne', providing illustrations of the screen and throne. On 13 November he refers to the dispatch of the throne, 'The other fellows (RE) want to present it as a joint gift. As I had the bother of getting it and carting it off ... I am not anxious for it ... It is valuable I think from the place it came from & the beauty of the carving. I hope you will not think me selfish about it, but I am rather sore at some of the other fellows taking such very good care not to present any of their own plunder & yet so willing to join in presenting mine'. Tsientsin and the Taiping rebellion : 'Tsientsin is a miserable place': Gordon's letters focus initially on his hard work and the difficulties he faces, not least with his men -- 'Grumbling, dirty, idle, helpless to a degree and without the smallest spark of Esprit de corps, what a brute the ordinary British Linesman is' -- but refers to the detailed reconnaisance of the district ('I have got such a plan of Tientsin nearly completed, it would astonish it') which was to play such an important role in his successful defeat of the Taiping forces in 1863-64. That hectically busy period is referred to in satisfied retrospect in a letter of 13 March 1864: 'My troubles are now over ... The Rebels hold

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Christie's
Title: Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books
Date of the auction: 4 Jun 2008
Address: Christie's
4 June 2008, London, King Street