In 2015, FNL helped the Royal Asiatic Society to acquire the archive of Thomas Manning.
Manning (1772-1840) was among the first European lay scholars of Chinese language and culture, and one of the earliest sinologists from the British Isles. He was a brilliant polymath and part of the 'first wave' of British Romanticism.
Like famous friends including Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Charles Lamb, Manning was inspired by the French Revolution and had ambitious plans for making a better world. While his contemporaries turned to the poetic imagination and the English countryside, Manning looked further afield - to China, one of the world's most ancient and sophisticated civilizations. His travels included the salons of Napoleonic Paris, a period as a prisoner of war, a dramatic shipwreck and, disguised as a Buddhist pilgrim, a trek through the Himalayas to Tibet, where he met the Dalai Lama. Manning's extraordinary story sheds a new light on English Romanticism.
Dr Ed Weech, Librarian at the Royal Asiatic Society has spent eight years focusing on Manning and has published a life of Manning: 'Chinese Dreams in Romantic England'.