(London: [Printed by Charles Whittingham for] William Pickering, 1836). 280 x 188 mm. (11 x 7 1/2"). Two volumes. First Nicolas Edition. A Large Paper Copy.
VERY FINE GREEN MOROCCO, GILT, BY J[OHN]. WRIGHT (stamp-signed on verso of front free endpaper), covers with mitered frame composed of gilt rules and decorative floral roll, outer edges of frame with triangles formed by twining botanical tools, (one each at head and foot, two on each side), oblique floral sprays at corners, raised bands, spines densely gilt in compartments with central spray of sunflowers surrounded by elaborate pointillé tooling, gilt titling, gilt-rolled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. WITH 61 ENGRAVINGS after Stothard and Inskipp, ON MOUNTED INDIA PAPER, 15 of these full-page. A Large Paper Copy. Verso of front free endpapers with bookplate of David Godine. Coigney 44; Oliver 41; Bibliotheca Piscatoria, pp. 228-29. ◆Spines slightly sunned (with gilt faintly dulled as a consequence), a handful of insignificant marks and spots to boards, occasional minor foxing (final leaves of both volumes more affected), but still AN EXTREMELY PLEASING COPY--almost entirely clean, fresh, and bright internally, in elegant bindings with few signs of wear.
This is an especially desirable copy, very attractively bound and in quite pleasing condition, of one of the finest illustrated editions of the "Angler" ever produced. Walton (1593-1683) lived in turbulent times, and he suffered personal tragedy (enduring 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." Oliver notes that our edition "is conspicuous for its illustrations," done by "some of the most prominent artists of the time," and "Bibliotheca Piscatoria" tells us that "this superb edition contains the variations of all the first five editions, voluminous notes, [and] original and elaborate memoirs of Walton and Cotton, presenting many new facts." According to Coigney, it was produced in a regular and a Large Paper version, the latter (including the present copy) with plates on India paper. The Grolier Club Checklist pronounced that "no finer edition of the 'Complete Angler' will ever be published." Our volumes were bound by John Wright, listed by Packer as working in London for 13 years until the summer of 1854, when he died of cholera (along with his nephew and four workers in his bindery). Ramsden says that Wright "was a binder of the first order," and the present elegantly and delicately decorated volumes--showing materials and workmanship of the highest quality--bear out that characterization. (ST19100b)