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ORME, Edward (publ.)

Historic, Military, and Naval Anecdotes,

of personal valour, bravery, and particular incidents which occurred to the armies of Great Britain and her allies, in the long contested war, terminating in the battle of Waterloo.

Edward Orme, Publisher to his Majesty, and to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, London , 1819 Stock Code: 120634
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First edition, early state, plates watermarked 1812, 1815 or 1816, text 1806 or 1812; the plates have printed issue dates between 1815 and 1818, and were first assembled in book form in 1819. Abbey and Tooley are at variance on the status of differing issues, but Abbey concludes, "it would appear reasonable to assume that the early state of the book has a dated title," as here. The colour in this copy is excellent. Orme was the son of a Manchester fustian manufacturer who came to London around 1794, his first engraving being published by his brother Daniel in that year. "On 21 January 1799 Orme was appointed printseller in ordinary to George III and on 5 April 1820 editor of prints in ordinary to George IV. In May 1800 he had a shop in Conduit Street, London (at the corner of George Street), and in 1801 exhibited a portrait at the Royal Academy. In the same year he established himself at 59 New Bond Street, London, at the corner of Brook Street, and published Rudiments of Landscape, a volume of uncoloured etchings after his brother William's drawings" (ODNB). He then embarked on the publication of a series of highly popular aquatint books of which this was to be the last. He had begun investing in property around 1809, and in 1824 he closed the shop and concentrated on a new career as a property developer. "Edward Orme was, after Rudolph Ackermann, the most important publisher of illustrated books during the short golden age of the coloured aquatint" (ibid.).

The present work is a highly effective visualization of the most memorable "anecdotes" from this remarkable period of British successes, martial and naval, including Wellington and Blücher meeting at La Belle Alliance; the deaths of Ponsonby and Picton; the taking of the French eagle at Barrosa; Uxbridge wounded; Nelson in the cockpit at the Battle of the Nile; and the boarding of the Chesapeake. "The book is remarkable for its brilliant colouring" (Martin Hardie, English Coloured Books, p. 138).

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Quarto (345 x 259 mm). 20th-century purple half calf to style, decorative gilt and blind tooled spine, dark green morocco label, marbled sides.


40 hand-coloured aquatint plates by Dubourg, Clark or Fry & Sutherland after Manskirch, Heath, Atkinson and others.


General pale offsetting from plates to text, pp. 3 and 5 of letterpress soiled at fore-edge and with old repairs to closed-tears, old repair to closed-tear in blank margin of plate opposite p. 32 ("Anecdote of the bravery of the Scotch piper"), some signs of handling; the plates themselves fresh and bright.


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