Welcome to Peter Harrington Books

72834 72834_1 72834_2
BARKER, Matthew Henry.

Tough Yarns;...

A Series of Naval Tales and Sketches to please all Hands, From the Swabs on the Shoulders down to the Swabs in the Head. By The Old Sailor. Illustrated by George Cruikshank.

Availability: In stock

Published: London Effingham Wilson, 1835

Stock Code: 72834

OR On display in 100 Fulham Road


First edition. Uncommon naval fiction dedicated to Captain Marryat. COPAC has just BL, NMM, Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow and St. Andrews; OCLC adds four copies only in the US and one in Australia. Barker was the Deptford-born son of a dissenting preacher. At 16 he joined an East Indiaman, and later served in the Royal Navy, "where, as he was without influence, he never rose beyond the rank of master's mate on the gun-brig The Flamar. After retiring from the service in 1813, he commanded a hired armed schooner, the True Briton, and was employed under Lord Keith in carrying dispatches to the English squadrons on the southern coasts of France and Spain. On one occasion he fell into the enemy's hands and was detained for some months as a prisoner of war" (ODNB). He was subsequently the editor of a West Indies newspaper, and later employed in a similar capacity in Nottingham. "He was naval editor of the United Service Gazette and a frequent contributor to the Literary Gazette, the Pictorial Times, and Bentley's Miscellany, the last at the time under the editorship of Charles Dickens, who came to value the consistent quality of the contributions of 'the old Sailor'. Barker was a friend of George Cruikshank, who illustrated seven of his works." Barker "felt that his publishers were less than generous with him" and when the popularity of sea tales waned he fell on hard times. He died in poverty in 1846.

Confused? Read our glossary


Octavo (167 x 100 mm). Contemporary half calf, marbled sides, rebacked with gilt spine.


Engraved frontispiece and 7 other plates, vignettes to the text.


Armorial bookplate of Admiral Wilmot Hawksworth Fawkes, one time commander of the Royal Yacht and commander-in-chief of Portsmouth to the front pastedown, and that of the Earl of Mexborough to the front free. Somewhat rubbed on the boards, new endpapers at the rear, plates browned as usual, text toned, a very good copy.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200. View Full Details


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book

Peter Harrington Limited. Registered office: WSM Services Limited, Connect House, 133-137 Alexandra Road, Wimbledon, LONDON SW19 7JY.
Registered in England and Wales No:3609982 Copyright © 2018, Peter Harrington. All rights reserved.

credit cards logo