"THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK ON INDIAN SPORT IN EXISTENCE," 1808, WITH 40 HAND-COLORED AQUATINTS
(INDIA) (HUNTING) WILLIAMSON, Thomas. Oriental Field Sports; Being a Complete, Detailed, and Accurate Description of the Wild Sports of the East. London: By W. Bulmer… for Edward Orme… and B. Crosby and Co., 1808. Two volumes. Large quarto, 19th-century full black straight-grain morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $4900.
First quarto edition of this classic Indian color plate book, with 40 splendid full-page hand-colored aquatint plates after S. Howett depicting vivid scenes of the hunting of elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, leopard, and other big game in India. In handsome morocco-gilt bindings.
The plates are based on sketches by Williamson, who served over 20 years in Bengal. His text presents a richly detailed account of the manners and customs of both the native inhabitants of the regions he traversed and the European hunters in search of game. The work was first published in a lavish oblong folio edition in 1807, and its popularity led to several quarto editions within a few years. "Williamson made the sketches and Howett put his genius into them; none can study the history of big-game hunting in art without consulting his huge book" (British Sporting Artists, 165). "The most beautiful book on Indian sport in existence" (Schwerdt 2: 297). Abbey, Travel 431. Tooley 509. Nissen, ZBI 4416.
Only occasional marginal spotting to text; plates clean, hand-coloring vivid. A few minor scuffs to handsome morocco-gilt. A beautiful copy of this lovely illustrated work.