Martial Achievements of Great Britain

WELLINGTON   |   James JENKINS

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PICTORIAL DOCUMENTATION OF WELLINGTON’S DEFEAT OF NAPOLEON: THE MARTIAL ACHIEVEMENTS OF GREAT BRITAIN, 1799-1815, WITH 54 SPLENDID LARGE HAND-COLORED FOLIO AQUATINTS

JENKINS, James. The Martial Achievements of Great Britain and Her Allies from 1799 to 1815. London: Js. Jenkins, [1814-15]. Folio (11 by 14 inches), contemporary full tan calf rebacked with original elaborately gilt-decorated spine laid down, marbled endpapers and edges.

First edition, first issue, of this dramatically illustrated record of British military action during Lord Wellington’s Peninsular Campaign, with hand-colored frontispiece, vignette title page, scarce hand-colored portrait of Wellington and hand-colored dedication page not present in all copies, and 51 vividly hand-colored aquatints of battle scenes by Thomas Sutherland after drawings by William Heath. A beautiful production in lovely contemporary calf.

"A brilliant and worthy record of a brilliant period in England's history" (Hardie, English Coloured Books, 147). From the terrifying rout and retreat at Corunna to the glorious victory at Talavera, the British and their allies fought to keep Napoleon out of Spain and Portugal. In 1807 a demoralized and ill-defended Spain was at the mercy of the French Emperor. Seven years later and the loss of over a million lives, the French finally retreated over the Pyrenees, never to return. The Anglo Portuguese Army under a brilliant strategist, the Duke of Wellington and supported by Spanish guerrilla irregulars, had ground down the best equipped and most feared army in Europe. Jenkins' work "is worthy of its theme; nor could one desire a finer record of heroic deeds" (Prideaux, 224). Scenes include "The Burning of Moscow," "The Storming of St. Sebastian," "The Entrance of the Allies into Paris," and "The Battle of Waterloo." Each plate is accompanied by text describing the action, with lists of those killed and wounded, and excerpts from contemporary bulletins, dispatches, letters, and speeches. The aquatint engraver Thomas Sutherland was known for his sporting prints of horses, coaches and hunting scenes after Henry Alken and others. Sutherland's plates for Jenkins' Martial Achievements were reprinted several times: this first-issue copy bears watermarks of "Whatman 1812" on both text and plates, and the vignette title page is uncolored (it was colored in later issues). With scarce portrait of the Duke of Wellington and the engraved dedication to him with his colored coat of arms, not present in all copies; bound without list of subscribers. Tooley 281. Abbey, Life 365. Prideaux, 341. Bookplate.

Plates bright and fine, handsome contemporary calf with expert restoration. A beautiful copy.

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