London: R. Ackermann, Eclipse Sporting Gallery, 1842. Item #02543
The "Rich In Interest" Classic
With 36 Hand-Colored Aquatints
[ALKEN, Henry, illustrator]. NIMROD (pseud. of Charles J. Apperley). The Life of a Sportsman. With Thirty-Six Coloured Illustrations by Henry Alken. London: R. Ackermann, Eclipse Sporting Gallery, 1842.
First edition, first issue with four plates on India paper mounted on plate paper, and plate at p. 348 in first state. Octavo (9 1/2 x 5 3/4 in; 243 x 145 mm). vi, [2, contents], 402, [10, catalog] pp. Thirty-four hand-colored aquatint plates. Extra engraved aquatint title page, vignettes and portrait.
Publisher's original blue cloth with gilt vignette and border blocked in blind, expertly recased. Gilt decorated spine. All edges gilt. New endpapers in pale yellow as original. A fine copy. Housed in a quarter blue morocco drop-front clamshell box.
"When Lockhart said of 'Nimrod' that he could 'hunt like Hugo Meynell and write like Walter Scott,' he was doubtless excited into exaggeration by the pleasure of having hit upon a man who could write of sport without the vulgarity of Egan...The Life of a Sportsman, published in 1842, contains a very pleasant account of country life in days when sport was no longer confused with debauchery; while its descriptions of runs to hounds, its lore of hunting and of four-in-hand driving, and its variety of incident and anecdote make it still both valuable and agreeable. Apperley, though not a Walter Scott, was a good writer; he knew his subject thoroughly, on both the scientific and the personal sides, and this work of fiction, though poor in plot, is rich in interest" (Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two. Ch. 15, Nimrod).
Charles J. Apperley (1778-1843) "began writing for the Sporting Magazine. From his boyhood his ruling passions had been hunting, horse-riding, and horse management...Apperley's expert knowledge and social status made him an invaluable recruit to the sporting press of the time, and he may even be said to have created the role of gentleman hunting correspondent. Writing at first under various pseudonyms (Acastus, Eques, and A), he published his first article for the Sporting Magazine as Nimrod in January 1822 and he subsequently usually used that nom de plume. For five seasons, from 1824 to 1828, he was the magazine's official representative...Many of his articles were in serial form and were subsequently published as books, notably his Memoirs of the Life of John Mytton (1837) and The Life of a Sportsman (1842)... his ability and authority were unquestioned. He earned the respect of sportsmen everywhere not only for his skillful and fearless riding but also for the knowledge and judgment he displayed in his writings and for his unrivaled experience of the hunting world. As Nimrod he held a unique position in his day and left an imperishable memory in sporting history" (Oxford DNB).
Podeschi 167. Siltzer, p. 73. Schwerdt I, p. 36. Tooley, 65.