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COLOMB, Philip Howard.

Memoirs of Admiral the Right Honble. Sir Astley Cooper Key.

Published: London: Methuen & Co., 1898

Stock code: 112315

Price: £125

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First edition of a biography considered “among the best of its kind and era” (ODNB). As a junior officer Key served in the Anglo-French Blockade of the Rio de la Plata (1845), the Bombardment of Sveaborg in the Crimean War (1855), and the Battle of Canton in the Second Opium War (1857). He was then appointed to the royal commission on national defence, subsequently captain of the Excellent and then first director of naval ordnance. In 1876 he founded the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and was First Naval Lord from 1879 to 1885. “Key was an early example of an officer who made his career through the mastery of new technology. Unfortunately for the navy, he never developed an equivalent comprehension of strategic needs” (idem). Colomb led a career similar to Key’s, serving with distinction as a junior officer before becoming increasingly involved in matters of strategy: after retirement in 1886 he lectured at the Royal Naval College and established himself as a leading intellectual influence on the late Victorian navy.

Octavo. Original blue diapered cloth, titles and anchor device gilt to spine, blind frame to boards, fore and bottom edges untrimmed. Photographic portrait frontispiece. 40 pp. of publisher’s advertisements dated October 1898 to rear. Contemporary Scottish bookseller’s ticket (R. B. Balfour, Montrose) to front pastedown. Ownership inscription dated 1899 to title. Tips and spine-ends lightly rubbed and bumped, boards very faintly mottled, two small abrasions to rear, half-title lightly spotted. A good copy.

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