(Philadelphia: David McKay, ). 250 x 188 mm. (9 7/8 x 7 1/2"). 223,  pp. First American Trade Edition.
Publisher's green cloth boards with gilt lettering, original (price-clipped) pictorial dust jacket. Housed in the original box with the dust jacket image pasted onto the top, as issued (the box with a little wear along edges, a couple of tears and neat repairs to corners and sides, but in excellent condition overall). Illustrated title page and endpapers, 24 illustrations in the text, and 12 COLOR PLATES (including frontispiece), all BY ARTHUR RACKHAM. Latimore & Haskell, p. 67; Hudson, p. 172; Coigney 313; Oliver 276. ◆Dust jacket with very minor imperfections (a small stain near head of backstrip, very slight yellowing on spine and a hint of soiling on lower wrapper), but essentially in fine condition, and the binding and contents pristine.
This is an outstanding copy of a classic that is as much a meditation on the tranquility to be found in nature as it is a guide to the sport of angling, with illustrations that bring the charming countryside to life. Hudson says that in this work Rackham turned to an emphasis on "historical costume and river landscape, in which he had long been supremely accomplished and successful." As indicated on the copyright page, the text here is reprinted from the fifth edition of 1676, the last to be revised by the author, but with the spelling modernized. Walton (1593-1683) lived in turbulent times, and he suffered personal tragedy (he endured the deaths of both his wives and eight of his nine children), but, largely because of the present work, he is forever identified with quietude and serenity. First published in 1653, his "Compleat Angler" is the classic work on the art of angling, infused with wise fish lore, written by an indomitable angler who knew every haunt of fresh water fish in the south of England. But, as Day says, "the love of angling is only the outward sign of a gentle inward grace, the soul of a thoroughly good man who loves peace and quiet meditation. If any one man created the idyll of the English countryside, it was Walton." Although most Rackham books were produced in large enough quantities that one can still hope to find fine copies in the marketplace, the present one--complete with the infrequently seen original box--is in especially fine condition, and the jacket lacks any of the chipping or tearing that often mar copies of this work. (ST19022)