PICTORIAL DOCUMENTATION OF WELLINGTON’S DEFEAT OF NAPOLEON: THE MARTIAL ACHIEVEMENTS OF GREAT BRITAIN, 1799-1815, WITH 53 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 olive straight-grain morocco-gilt sympathetically rebacked, all edges gilt. $12,800.
First edition, early issue, of this dramatically illustrated record of British military action during Lord Wellington’s Peninsular Campaign, with hand-colored frontispiece, 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 attractive contemporary morocco-gilt.
"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 early issue copy bears watermarks of "Whatman 1811" on a few plates and "J Whatman 1820" on one plate, and the vignette on the engraved title page is uncolored (it was colored in later issues). Without scarce portrait of the Duke of Wellington, not present in all copies, but with the engraved dedication to him with his colored coat of arms; bound without list of subscribers. Abbey, Life 365. Tooley 281. Prideaux, 341.
Two plates and one text leaf with marginal repairs; one plate backed with paper to repair a closed tear, plates generally quite clean, with vivid hand-coloring. Light rubbing to joints and corners. A nicely restored copy in extremely good condition.