“THE ILLUSTRATIONS ARE AMONG THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TO EVER GRACE EQUESTRIAN LITERATURE”: CAVENDISH’S 1737 CLASSIC ON THE SCHOOLING OF HORSES, WITH 42 SPLENDID DOUBLE-PAGE PLATES
CAVENDISH, William, Duke of Newcastle. Methode et Invention Nouvelle de Dresser les Chevaux. London: Jean Brindley, 1737. Large folio (13 by 18 inches), period-style full speckled calf gilt, raised bands, red morocco spine label, original marbled edges. $14,000.
Second edition of Cavendish’s important first treatise on the horse and horsemanship, with engraved title page and 42 wonderful double-page folio engravings of horse breeds and training methods, all pulled directly from the original 1658 copperplates, and 50 in-text woodcut diagrams. Beautifully bound in period-style full calf-gilt.
“England, though often considered a country of horse lovers, actually only produced one early master of classical riding. William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, was a royalist who lived in exile until the restoration of King Charles II. During his exile he opened a riding school in Belgium. He wrote La Methode et Invention Nouvelle de Dresser les Chevaux… The illustrations are among the most beautiful to ever grace equestrian literature” (Deanna Ramsay). This was the first of Cavendish’s two important books on the subject of breeding and training horses, translated into French from his English manuscript and published in Antwerp in two issues, 1657 and 1658 (with many of the 1657 title pages having been altered by hand to also read “1658”). This first printing was largely destroyed by fire in the bookseller’s shop (Brunet), and is all but impossible to acquire. Offered here is the second edition of Cavendish’s first book, “a work long cherished by bibliophiles for the excellence of its typography and the quality of its illustrations, a work esteemed by countless generations of horsemen and revered by such masters as La Guérinière, Comte d’Aure and Steinbrecht, and a landmark of equestrian” (W.C. Steinkraus) that has been called “still the only really outstanding work on the subject written by an Englishman” (R.S. Toole-Stott). In it Cavendish discusses a wide variety of equine subjects, including the recognition of the age and disposition of a horse, the characteristics of various types of horses (e.g. Spanish, the Barb, the English horse, the Arabian), methods of maintenance, and instructions on proper riding. “You must in all Airs follow the strength, spirit, and disposition of the horse, and do nothing against nature; for art is but to set nature in order, and nothing else.” Of the 42 wonderful double-page plates after Abraham van Diepenbeke, 24 depict the multiple stages Cavendish and his assistant Captain Mazin employed in training complicated maneuvers. The quality of the impressions “even surpasses those of the original edition” (W.C. Steinkraus). His second work, A New Method and Extraordinary Invention to Dress Horses (1667) is often confused with the 1657 Methode et Invention. It was first published in English, with translations into French and German appearing variously from 1671 to 1740, without any plates. In his preface to this second work, Cavendish makes clear that while it is “neither a translation of the first, nor an absolutely necessary addition to it, [it] may be of use by itself, without the other.” This 1737 second edition of La Methode et Invention Nouvelle is the first to be published in England, with engravings pulled from the original 1658 copperplates, acquired by Jean Brindley. With wood-engraved head- and tailpieces and initial letters. Text in French. An English translation from this French edition first appeared in 1743, also published by Brindley, with the same plates. See Huth, 23; Podeschi 26 and 49; Lowndes, 1663; Wing N884-87; Brunet I, 1700; Graesse II, 93. Bookplate. Early owner signature “Pembroke” on the title page.
Minor light shallow dampstain to top margins of only first few plates and gatherings, small archival tape repair to scuff on page 108. Beautifully bound, a most handsome copy.