DOWLING, Vincent George.

Fistiana; or, the Oracle of the Ring.

Comprising a Defence of British Boxing; a Brief History of Pugilism, from the earliest ages to the present period; Practical Instructions for Training; together with Chronological Tables of Prize Battles, from 1780 to 1840 inclusive, alphabetically arranged with the issue of each event. Scientific Hints on Sparring.

London: Wm. Clement, Jun., 1841 Stock Code: 136136
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"A classic work on the noble art"

First edition of this "classic work on the noble art, including informative sections on fitness training and sparring. It was a book which was regularly updated and went through fourteen editions before Dowling's death" (ODNB). Some 143 pages are given over to an alphabetical "chronology of the ring", listing fights from 1785 to 1840, and there are further sections on "ages of living pugilists","Taverns and Public Houses kept by Ex-Pugilists in London and its Vicinity" and "Duties of Seconds and Bottle-Holders".

The author, Vincent George Dowling (1785-1852), was a Londoner educated in Ireland who built a reputation as "an energetic and reliable reporter, a reputation enhanced by his eye-witness account of the assassination of Spencer Perceval in the lobby of the House of Commons on 11 May 1812, and later by his being first to arrive in London with the news that Queen Caroline was to return there from France after the accession of George IV in June 1820. His twelve-hour crossing of the channel in an open boat on a stormy night was evidence of a determined and romantic spirit" (ibid.). In August 1824 he was appointed editor of Bell's Life in London, one of Britain's earliest and most successful sporting newspapers.

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Octavo (161 x 98 mm). Late 19th century speckled calf, spine divided by paired gilt fillets and blind wavy rolls, red label, sides with blind double fillet border and corner rosettes, blind foliate roll to turn-ins, gilt edges, Gloster pattern marbled endpapers, with the original cloth covers folded-in at the front.


Line engraved frontispiece by O. Smith after John Frederick Herring, 4 wood-engraved plates illustrating various blows and holds, single wood-engraving in the text at p. viii (showing a beer basket, gloves and timepiece).


Attractive engraved armorial bookplate of Charles Nall-Cain, 1st Baron Brocket (1866-1934). Joints just a little chafed, old childish pencil scribbling across first lines of title rather roughly erased, frontispiece lightly foxed, a few gatherings lightly creased yet this remains a handsome copy.


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