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ASTLEY, Philip.

A Description and Historical Account, of the Places Now the Theatre of War in the Low Countries,

Viz Charlemont, Givet, Arras, St. Omer, Bethune ... embellished with a Frontispiece, and Plans of those Places the Most Remarkable for their Fortifications. The Fourth Edition.

Published: London: For J. Moore and N. Stanley, Purchasers of the Copy Right, 1794

Stock code: 66735

Price: £1,250

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Uncommon and attractive fortification study, this fourth edition issued in the same year as the self-published first edition. “That part of Flanders … having frequently been disputed by the various European powers, the author conceives that an undertaking like this will not be unacceptable to the public, particularly at a time when that country exhibits nothing but incampments, sieges, blockades, daily skirmishes, and frequent battles” (To the Public). Astley earned great renown as an equestrian artist and theatrical manager. He had served with General Elliott’s regiment of light horse on the continent, distinguishing himself at the battles of Emsdorf and Friedburg. Having obtained a discharge he opened an exhibition of horsemanship in an open field in Lambeth, his only horse being his regimental charger given to him by Elliott. He opened a succession of theatres in London and Paris during the 1770s and 80s, but the French Revolution disrupted his performances in Paris, his amphitheatre being turned into a barracks, so he returned to London and rejoined the army, serving with distinction under the duke of York. With the patronage of the duke and the prince of Wales he was permitted to call his new theatre, opened 1794, Astley’s Royal Amphitheatre. The present work is dedicated to the duke.

Octavo (205 129 mm). Contemporary red goatskin, title gilt to spine, rolled bands, sun-in-splendour tools in the compartments, gilt panels to the boards, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. Double-page frontispiece and 15 similar plates. A little rubbed and soiled, but still pleasing, light toning, small piece missing torn from the corner of second plate, no loss of image, overall a very good copy.

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