London: Printed for Thomas McLean, 1821. Item #02297
With Earliest Watermarks
Complete With Half-Title
CARELESS, John [pseudonym]. [CHATTO, William Andrew]. The Old English 'Squire. "A Jovial Gay Fox-Hunter, Bold, Frank, and Free." A Poem in Ten Cantos. Illustrated with Plates, by One of the Family. London: Printed for Thomas McLean… by Howlett and Brimmer, 1821.
First edition, earliest issue, a Large Paper copy complete with half-title; scarce.
Tall octavo (10 3/8 x 7 1/8 in; 263 x 181 mm ). viii, 136 pp. Twenty-four hand-colored aquatint plates, including frontispiece, watermarked "Whatman 1821". (The plates in Abbey's copy watermarked "Whatman 1823."
Bound by Rivière & Son in full green crushed morocco, covers with French fillets, spine with five raised bands elaborately tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, wide gilt decorated turn-ins, plum endpapers, top edge gilt, others uncut. Spine slightly sunned. With the armorial bookplate of sporting book collector Graham M. Adee on front paste-down. A fine copy.
"The half-title is frequently missing" (Tooley).
The story of the life of a somewhat debauched squire from birth until his bridle at marriage.
"'John Careless, Esq.,' is only known as the author of a rare colour-book, The Old English Squire, published by M'Lean in 1821, with twenty [i.e. 24] coloured plates 'by one of the family' in the style of Rowlandson. The literary matter differs from that of Combe and Mitford in being strongly influenced by the style of Walter Scott, wherever the galloping metre of Retaliation and Haunch of Venison is not used. Especially curious is the account of the collection of Old Masters, from which the Old English Squire bought his St Anthony preaching to the Fishes..." (Prideaux).
"It is not certainly known who 'John Careless' was. He is sometimes said to have been 'Stephen Oliver' (a pseudonym of W.A. Chatto); but Chatto's poem of the same title was published in 1838 by 'Phiz.' His 'Old English Squire', with twenty-four aquatints colored by hand ('by one of the family'), is in fact something of a mystery, and, for the collector, rather an expensive one: it may cost £20, or even more. The reason of such a price (though there is the justification of rarity) lies in two features it possesses. One is the plates, which are attributed to Thomas Rowlandson, of which all that can be said is that they are utterly unworthy of the artist who in the same year completed the illustrations to 'Dr. Syntax's' three 'Tours.' However, these puzzles of authorship and illustration make the book interesting. And trashy though the verse is, it has yet one other great interest - that of life" (Sawyer and Darton, English Books 1475-1900).
The stunning library of color-plate and sporting books collected by Capt. Graham M. Adee (USN, ret.) of Newport. R.I. was sold at Parke-Bernet Galleries in 1953.
Tooley 128. Abbey, Life, 387. Prideaux pp. 305, 330. Schwerdt I, p. 95.