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WILLIAMSON, Thomas.

Oriental Field Sports;

Being a Complete, Detailed, and Accurate Description of the Wild Sports of the East; and Exhibiting, in a Novel and Interesting Manner, the Natural History of the Elephant, the Rhinoceros, the Tiger, the Leopard, the Bear, the Deer, the Buffalo, the Wolf, the Wild Hog, the Jackall, the Wild Dog, the Civet, and Other Undomesticated Animals: as Likewise the Different Species of Feathered Game, Fishes, and Serpents. The Whole Variety Interspersed with a Variety of Original, Authentic, and Curious Anecdotes, which Render the Work Replete with Information and Amusement. The Scenery Gives a Faithful Representation of that Picturesque Country, Together with the Manners and Customs of Both the Native and European Inhabitants. The Narrative is Devided into Fourty Heads, Forming Collectively a Complete Work, but so Arranged to Each Part is a Detail of one of the Fourty Coloured Engravings with which the Publication is Embellished. The Whole Taken from the Manuscript and Designs of Captain Thomas Williamson... the Drawings by Samuel Howitt.

London: H. R. Young, 1819 Stock Code: 87219
£3,750.00
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"The most beautiful book on Indian sport in existence"

Second edition of the work the bibliographer considered the most beautiful book on Indian sport in existence, containing 40 fine colour plates. The author, who served for 20 years in Bengal, describes his "pig-sticking adventures; shooting tigers from machans and elephant back, hunting buffalo, driving hogs, bears and wolves; and shooting peacocks and other game", creating "a benchmark in capturing the sporting bibliophile's imagination". It was first published 1807-8.

Howitt "is first recorded as having a property at Chigwell, in Essex, and living as a gentleman of means - a keen sportsman, hunter, rider, and angler. A self-taught artist, he turned professional when financial difficulties forced him to earn a living. He drew on his enthusiasm and knowledge as a sportsman and produced sporting and natural history paintings, etchings, and illustrations. He sometimes worked in oils but more frequently in watercolours, and he was an accomplished etcher he had an innate capacity for drawing animals, from commonplace hare and deer to exotic species that he studied in menageries. He was an animated draughtsman, and his drawings of hunts and sporting events have a fluidity and excitement fitting to the subject" (ODNB).

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Description

2 volumes, quarto (328 x 224 mm). Contemporary green straight-grain morocco, title gilt direct to spines, flat bands with quintuple gilt rules bracketed with foliate tools, stags gilt to the compartments, concentric panels in gilt and blind to the boards centred on an elaborate oval foliate cartouche enclosing the stag device, all edges gilt, sexfoil and lozenge gilt roll to the turn-ins, dun endpapers.

Illustrations

Etched sepia additional titles to each, and 40 hand-coloured aquatints in all.

Condition

Nineteenth-century book label of F. L. Hopkins and later bookplate of William Binns Cowper to the front pastedowns. A little rubbed, bumped corners, hinges professionally repaired, light browning to the plates, some minor offsetting, and occasional foxing, but overall a very handsomely presented set.

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