“WIDELY READ AND EAGERLY COLLECTED”: 1834 RENNIE EDITION OF WALTON’S COMPLETE ANGLER—THE HECKSCHER COPY
WALTON, Izaak. The Complete Angler; or, Contemplative Man's Recreation: being a Discourse on Rivers, Fishponds, Fish, and Fishing… With Lives and Notes by Sir John Hawkins. Edited by James Rennie. London: Allan Bell, 1834. 12mo, 19th-century three-quarter black morocco gilt rebacked with original spine laid down, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $800.
Third Rennie edition, published one year after the first, illustrated with a copper-engraved portrait frontispiece of Walton and sheet music by W. H. Lizars, and 26 wood-engravings, four by H. Y. Sears. From the library of noted angling book collector John Gerard Heckscher, with his bookplates.
Perhaps the single best-known work in English on fishing, The Complete Angler is "a 'piscatorial classic'… read and loved by countless people who have never encountered fish except at a table. It is an exquisite book. There is no dullness and no stagnation; the characters walk briskly, talk vigorously, angle, eat and drink like cheerful men of this world" (Sampson, 385). First published in 1653, The Complete Angler has been described as "the best pastoral in the English language" (Starkman and Read, 118-19). This "Rennie" edition first appeared in 1833 and was reprinted 20 times by 1857. Rennie editions "have been widely read and eagerly collected," despite the fact that he irritated many readers by "picking flaws in Walton's knowledge of nature" (Oliver, 72). Oliver 35. Coigney 38. Bookplates of John Gerard Heckscher, who amassed a large collection of angling books, referenced several times by Peter Oliver in his 1936 bibliography, A New Chronicle of the Complete Angler.
Occasional spotting. Light rubbing to corners and bands. An extremely good copy of this classic, with a distinguished piscatorial provenance.