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SCOTIA DEPICTA, 48 FINELY ETCHED VIEWS OF SCOTLAND, LORD ASHBURTON’S COPY
NATTES, John Claude and FITTLER, James. Scotia Depicta; or, the Antiquities, Castles, Public Buildings, Noblemen and Gentlemen’s Seats, Cities, Towns, and Picturesque Scenery, of Scotland. London: W. Miller et al. (T. Bensley, printer), 1804. Oblong quarto, contemporary full brown mottled calf rebacked with the original gilt-decorated spine laid down, marbled endpapers and edges. $4800.
First edition of this “series of finished etchings… with descriptions, antiquarian, historical, and picturesque,” with additional illustrated title page featuring Fingal’s Cave and comprising 48 splendid views of Scotland’s “sublime, beautiful, romantic, and picturesque scenery.”
“No people have been more remarkable for their attachment to their natal soil, than those who first drew their breath amidst the sublime and picturesque beauties of North Britain… They love to dwell on its natural beauties, its lofty mountains, its romantic glens, its expansive lochs, and to expatiate on the noble and bold edifices of their ancestors.” This early account of Scottish travels and collection of views was produced during a period when the remoter areas of Scotland were just being mapped and measured. While many travelers were “seekers after the sublime and the heroic, [and] headed straight for the highlands and Islands, a number toured the entire country, taking in the North East along the way. The draughtsman John Claude Nattes, for example, included Aberdeen, Banff, Moray and Inverness” (McLaren). This beautiful early example of the influence of Romanticism on the engraver’s art allows “admirers of sublime, beautiful, romantic, and picturesque scenery… to seize the flitting images of the view, and fix them for ever, in spite of the ravages of the elements, or the more destructive hand of man.” These wonderfully detailed copperplates were etched by the renowned James Fittler, engraver to King George III. Bookplates, one the armorial plate of British politician and financier Alexander Baring, Lord Ashburton, who in 1842 concluded the Webster-Ashburton Treaty with the United States, in which the northeast boundary of Maine was settled and an agreement reached between the two governments, not only to suppress the slave trade at its source in Africa, but to persuade other powers to close all slave markets within their territories.
Plates and tissue guards professionally cleaned, contemporary calf expertly restored. A nearly fine copy with distinguished provenance.