BATTY, CAPTAIN [ROBERT].
SCENERY OF THE RHINE, BELGIUM AND HOLLAND.(London: Robert Jennings, 1826). 305 x 241 mm (12 x 9 1/2"). 5 p.l. (including engraved title),  leaves. FIRST EDITION.
HANDSOME CONTEMPORARY DARK GREEN HALF MOROCCO over moss green straight-grain buckram, wide raised bands decorated with plain and decorative gilt rules, SPINE LAVISHLY GILT in compartments with leafy volute cornerpieces and a large and intricate central ornament composed of lilies, leaves, and small tools radiating from a central circlet, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt (joints and morocco corners artfully renewed). WITH 62 EXCELLENT ENGRAVED SCENIC PLATES PRINTED ON CHINA PAPER and mounted, the engravings after drawings by Batty and featuring city views, river vistas, and ruins. Descriptive text leaves printed in English (on the recto facing the engravings) and in French (on the verso). Hunnisett, p. 133; Houfe, p. 228. Spine just slightly sunned, title page and four other plates somewhat foxed (mainly in the margins), occasional minor foxing elsewhere, a hint of offsetting from plates, otherwise quite a fine copy, the handsome binding solid and with bright gilt, and the text and plates generally very clean and fresh.
With his usual charm, skill, and precision, Batty here illustrates scenes from the Rhineland and the Netherlands. Ruined castles alternate with minutely rendered lacy gothic cathedrals; placid lakeside scenes contrast with views of neat and prosperous town squares; and there is an appealing mix of rural and urban, of sun and storm. In the foreground, ladies and gentlemen, peasants, soldiers, and boatmen give life to the pictures. And as in his other illustrated books, the carefully drawn scenes give an almost photographic impression of veracity, while still catering to the then prevailing British Romantic taste for picturesque views. The plates include views from Heidelberg, Wurzburg, Frankfort, Andernach, Cologne, Tournay, Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp, Utrect, Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam, and others. Robert Batty (d. 1848) went to Italy at 15 to study art, returned to England to enroll at Cambridge, and served as an officer at Waterloo. He then undertook the publication of books which he himself illustrated, including records of his campaigns. His most famous works are the ones--like the present item--which illustrate the scenery of various countries or regions. Hunnisett says that he was the most celebrated of the amateur topographical artists whose work found its way into print at the time, while Redgrave says that "his industry was great" and "his works carefully and truthfully drawn." Ours is the eighth of 11 scenic works he published during the years 1815-32; the books, covering Wales and most of northern continental Europe, were issued by the best publishers and done in conjunction with the best engravers of the time. These books are generally available in the marketplace, but the present copy is both pretty and well preserved. (ST11481)