"ONE OF THE BEST TRAVEL BOOKS OF ITS KIND": MALKIN'S SOUTH WALES, 1804 FIRST EDITION, WITH 12 LOVELY ETCHINGS
(WALES) MALKIN, Benjamin Heath. The Scenery, Antiquities, and Biography, of South Wales, from Materials Collected during Two Excursions in the Year 1803… Embellished with Views. London: T.N. Longman and O. Rees, 1804. Quarto, contemporary marbled boards sympathetically rebacked and recornered in dark brown calf-gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers and edges. $3000.
First edition of this picturesque travelogue through the Welsh countryside, illustrated with frontispiece and 11 full-page soft-ground etchings by J. Laporte after views drawn on the spot by him, each hand-colored with a wash of blue, tan or gray, and with large folding map. Handsome in contemporary calf-gilt.
Malkin (1769-1842), schoolmaster and antiquary, was a friend of William Blake, "with whom he shared an interest in radical politics" (ODNB). As headmaster of the grammar school at Bury St. Edmunds from 1809-28, he was known as an inspiring, idiosyncratic teacher who encouraged independence of mind and character. "Malkin's taste for the picturesque is to be seen in his topographical work The Scenery, Antiquities and Biography of South Wales, published in 1804 and reissued in a two-volume edition in 1807. Written after a tour of south Wales in 1803, it was one of the best travel books of its kind, displaying Malkin's acute observation and considerable knowledge of Welsh history" (ODNB). Bound without half title, with directions to the binder leaf. Owner signature and annotations of Richard Hughes on title page, last leaf and front free endpaper, with his blindstamp to frontispiece, title page, and last leaf as well.
Some spotting to text, chiefly marginal; plates generally clean and fine; contemporary marbled boards nicely rebacked. A lovely volume.