Sims Reed Rare Books×

Oriental Field Sports; Being a Complete, Detailed, and Accurate Description of the Wild Sports of the East ... the Whole Taken from the Manuscript and Designs of Captain Thomas Williamson ... &c

Howitt, Samuel. Williamson, Captain Thomas

London. Printed by William Bulmer and Co. ... for Edward Orme. 1807
First edition, an early issue bound from the parts, with two of the original part wrappers.

Issued originally in a series of 20 parts, Oriental Field Sports (or Wild Sports of the East as the illustrated wrappers and title have it), features illustration by Samuel Howitt after Captain Williamson's original drawings to illustrate WIlliamson's own text. The copy offered here, with two original part wrappers tipped to the front and rear pastedowns, has been bound from the original parts as demonstrated by the 1804 watermarks on all text leaves and plates (save for one leaf of the index with an 1805 watermark) as well as the uncorrected title for plate XXXI ('Hunting Jackalls' - cf. Tooley ' ... this must be the first issue of the plate. It is rare.'). The 20 parts for subscribers were issued monthly between June 1805 and January 1807.

Williamson's text treats of all aspects of hunting in India and, together with Howitt's fine plates, provides a detailed survey of the subject, from the hunting of tiger, jackal, wild dog, deer, wild boar, leopard and so on, to the trapping of elephant and the ferocity (exaggerated presumably) of the rhinoceros and his particular antipathy to the elephant. A further edition in the same format was published in 1808 (described by Tooley as 'greatly inferior') as well as various editions in octavo and quarto.

'The most beautiful book on Indian sport in existence ... '. (Schwerdt).

'The book is not only a mine of information as to the manners, customs, scenery, and costume of India, but contains one of the finest series of sporting plates ever published.' (Martin Hardie, English Coloured Books, 1906).

[Schwerdt II, 298; Abbey Travel 427; Tooley 508; Hardie, pp. 135 - 136, 302 - 303; Brunet V, 1456].
pp. ii, 150, (i, list of plates). Oblong folio. (470 x 595 mm). Illustrative colour title (stencil-coloured) with text 'Wild Sports of the East', printed title, leaf with Orme's dedication to George III, leaf with Williamson's 'Preface' (pp. ii), descriptive text for each plate (pp. 1 - 146), index (pp. 147 - 150), leaf with list of plates in English and French printed recto only and forty colour aquatint plates by Howitt after Williamson (all by H. Merke, save 31, soft-ground etching with aquatint, by Viveres and 27 and 34, stipple engravings with aquatint by J. Hamble). Sheet size: 458 x 572 mm. Plates with the watermarks: 'J WHATMAN / 1804' or 'E & P / 1804'; text with watermarks: 'E & P / 1804' or 'HALL & TATLIN 1804'; first leaf of index with watermark: 'E & P / 1802', second with: 'RUSE & TURNERS / 1805'. Scarlet half-morocco by Rivière & Son, with their discreet stamp to front free endpaper verso, red cloth-covered boards with red morocco label with gilt title mounted to front board, banded spine with title gilt in six compartments, original blue stencil-coloured part wrappers for livraisons 9 and 10 mounted to front and rear pastedowns, marbled endpapers, a.e.g.

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