With the single exception of a humorous ballad in Welsh about a tea party gone laughably wrong, all the books in this exhibition were given to the library of St David's College in the first half of the nineteenth century by our great benefactor the East India Company surgeon Thomas Phillips (1760-1851).

Phillips may well have visited China himself in the mid 1790s on his return journey from Australia where he had been inspecting medical facilities on behalf of the East India Company. Perhaps the rich collection of works related to China which Phillips gave to the library is a reflection of his personal interest in a region which he knew first-hand. One thing is clear, Phillips determined to provide Lampeter with a window on the wider world.