“THE MANLY ART OF BOXING”: 1823 BOXIANA, WITH FINE ENGRAVED PLATES
EGAN, Pierce. Boxiana; or, Sketches of Ancient and Modern Pugilism. London: Sherwood, Jones and Company, 1823-29. Five volumes. Octavo, 20th-century three-quarter red morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $3000.
Early edition of this boxing classic, with 50 engraved plates, including an engraved vignette title page in Volume I, 45 portraits, and four folding plates of boxing matches, handsomely bound by Bayntun.
Egan was probably one of boxing's most enthusiastic and ardent disciples. Egan devotes a major part of Boxiana to a history of the boxing careers of about over a hundred boxers, often including a round to round account of the famous fights of a particular boxer, such as Jim Belcher, Tom Cribb, Dan Mendoza, Tom Molyneaux, 'Gentleman' John Jackson and many others. First published in 1812, Boxiana proved so popular that Egan expanded the work to an eventual four volumes; the fourth volume was written by another author after Egan briefly lost the rights to the series, but after securing the rights to the title he published a further two volumes as part of a New Series. With Volume II only of the New Series. Without the portrait of Alexander Reed in the last volume, but with an additional plate depicting "A Sparring Match at the Fives Court" in Volume III. Owner signature.
Plates occasionally trimmed a bit close, a few leaves with marginal paper repairs in the last volume. Very handsomely bound.