"THE EARLIEST AND THE MOST IMPORTANT AQUATINT BOOK PUBLISHED ON CANADA": HERIOT'S TRAVELS THROUGH THE CANADAS, 1807 FIRST EDITION, WITH 27 ENGRAVINGS AND FOLDING MAP
(CANADA) HERIOT, George. Travels Through the Canadas, Containing a Description of the Picturesque Scenery on Some of the Rivers and Lakes; With an Account of the Productions, Commerce, and Inhabitants of Those Provinces. To Which is Subjoined a Comparative View of the Manners and Customs of Several of the Indian Nations of North and South America. London: Printed for Richard Phillips, 1807. Quarto, contemporary three-quarter tain calf gilt, raised bands, red morocco spine label, marbled boards and edges.
First edition, uncolored issue, of one of the most important and beautifully illustrated accounts of North America, illustrated with folding aquatint frontispiece view of Quebec, 26 aquatint plates (five folding), and a folding hand-colored map of the St. Lawrence River region.
Heriot traveled extensively throughout Canada and the northern United States as deputy postmaster general of British North America, and kept a detailed record of his travels in word and illustration. The engravings in the present work are based upon the watercolor and ink sketches Heriot made on his journeys; he was considered one of the finest watercolor artists of his time. In this, one of the most important Canadian travel narratives, Heriot describes the region from the Gulf of the St. Lawrence west through the Great Lakes, as well as Canadian commerce and government, Native American culture and language, fishing, and the fur trade. "The plates, all aquatints, are particularly noteworthy. As Prideaux says, illustrated books on North America are curiously few in the period with which we deal. By far the most important is Heriot's Travels through the Canadas" (Streeter VI:3658). Includes views of Quebec, the Azores, Montreal, the Cascades of the St. Lawrence, Niagara Falls, French Canadian dancing and Indian costume. "The earliest and the most important aquatint book published on Canada" (Hill, 142-143). Bound with leaf of directions to the binder and publisher's ads at rear. This work was issued with plates uncolored—as in this copy—or hand-tinted with a sepia wash, or hand-colored. Staton & Tremaine 805. Sabin 31489. Field 168. Abbey, Travel 618 (describing a separate issue of the plates without text). Prideaux, 254-255. Engraved armorial bookplate.
Mild foxing to folding View of Quebec, chiefly marginal, rest of text and plates generally clean. Expert restoration to joints and corners. An attractive copy in a contemporary binding.