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The Naval Achievements of Great Britain. From the Year 1793 to 1817.

London : printed for J. Jenkins, by L. Harrison, [after 1835] Stock Code: 94719
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An appealingly bound copy of this pinnacle of coloured aquatint production

First edition, later state. First issued in 1817, the work sold slowly, which led Jenkins to issue copies as demand necessitated. The earliest copies of this book have the text printed on paper watermarked 1812 and 1816; this copy is printed on paper watermarked 1835. An attractively bound copy of this magnificent illustration of the high-water mark of Britain's maritime hegemony, and the apogee of the coloured aquatint. As Roger Quarm, curator of pictures at the National Maritime Museum remarked: "As a record of naval events spanning a period of over twenty years it has no precedent. At no time prior to 1817 had a publisher attempted such a complete volume of documentary naval prints. It is the quality of accuracy which makes Jenkins so valuable" (quoted in the introduction to the 1998 facsimile edition). The very earliest issues can be identified by the title-page vignette remaining uncoloured; otherwise, the key consideration for collectors is the quality of the colouring, which is extremely good in the present copy.

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Quarto (345 x 275 mm). Early 20th-century dark blue half morocco with marbled boards covered in later blue-grey linen, raised bands, titles to spine gilt, compartments gilt panelled with leaf cornerpieces and central tools of a crown, a three-masted ship, an anchor, and a globe, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers renewed.


Hand-coloured aquatint frontispiece with tissue guard, 54 hand-coloured aquatint plates, one plate with 2 etched plans of the Bombardment of Algiers and of the Battle of Trafalgar, engraved title page with hand-coloured vignette.


Binder's ticket to front pastedown. Rear board very gently bowed, lower corners slightly bumped and worn, a few small dark marks to cloth, mild offsetting from plates, occasional light spotting to margins of text block and plates, minor staining to fore margin and a couple of small spots affecting the edges of one plate (Lord Bridport's action off Port L'Orient). An excellent copy.


Abbey, Life 337; NMM, V, 2159; Tooley 282


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