London: D. Bogue, 1844. Item #01876
An Unique Copy
With Four Original Signed Watercolor Designs by John Absolon
Used for the Engravings Within the Book
WALTON, Sir Isaac. The Complete Angler. Or, The Contemplative Man's Recreation, of Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton. Edited by John Major.London: D. Bogue, 1844.
Sixth (titled fourth) John Major edition, a unique copy, with four signed watercolors by John Absolon, original designs used by engraver J.T. Willmore for the corresponding engravings in the text. Quarto (11 x 8 1/4 in; 279 x 210 mm), each octavo leaf mounted onto large, window-paned sheets to match the size of the original art. Twelve steel engravings, nine of which are after designs by John Absolon and new to this edition. Seventy-four woodcuts by John and Mason Jackson.
Early twentieth century binding by Riviere & Son (stamp-signed) in full forest green Levant morocco. Triple gilt-ruled borders. Gilt-ruled raised bands, elaborately gilt decorated compartments, gilt-rolled edges, wide gilt dentelles. All edges gilt. From the renowned collection of John T. Spaulding, with his small, distinctive bookplate. A fine copy.
John Absolon (1815 - 1895) was a painter of landscape, seascape and genre in both oil and watercolor, and a book illustrator. He began his career as a painter of theatrical scenery at Covent Garden. His first exhibition was at the Royal Society of British Artists in 1832 at the age of 17. He went to Paris in 1835, and on his return in 1838 became a member of the National Watercolour Society, of which he later became Treasurer. He exhibited mainly at the NWS, but also at the Royal Academy, and British Institution and Royal Society of British Artists. Hardie praised his watercolors for their "fresh and breezy manner."
John T. Spaulding was Boston's principal collector of nineteenth century paintings during the first third of the twentieth century, parts of his huge collection exhibited at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts in 1932; later bequested to that institution.
“Indeed, my good scholar, we may say of angling, as Dr. Boteler said of strawberries, ‘Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did’; and so, if I might be judge, God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling” (The Compleat Angler).
Izaak Walton (1593-1683), “English biographer, who is best known for The Compleat Angler (1653), a classic guide to the joys of fishing with over 300 new printings. It combines practical information about angling with folklore. The story of three friends, traveling through the English countryside, is enlivened by occasional songs, ballads, quotations from several writers, and glimpses of an idyllic and now lost rural life…The Compleat Angler was a combination of manual and meditation...Walton drew his work on Nicholas Breton's (c. 1545-1626) fishing idyll Wits Trenchmour (1597). The second edition was largely rewritten and in the fifth edition Walton wrote about fly-fishing on the river Dove, a subject the author himself knew little about. The last [i.e., fifth] edition was published in 1676 and included additional material by Charles Cotton (Instructions how to Angle for a Trout or Grayling in a Clear Stream) and Colonel Robert Venables's The Experienced Angler, or Angling Improved. Walton called this work The Universal Angler. He had taught Cotton but never met Venables” (“Izaak Walton (1593-1683)” at Pegasos—A Literature Related Resource Site).