London: H. Humphreys, 1811. Item #02598
Six Humorous Hand-Colored Engraved Hunting Scenes
FRANKLAND, Sir Robert. COPLOW, Billesdon (pseudonym). Indispensable Accomplishments…London: Published…by H. Humphrey, 1811.
First edition. Oblong folio (10 5/8 x 14 5/8 inches; 270 x 370 mm.). Engraved title and six numbered hand-colored engraved plates with interleaves. Seventeen blank leaves at rear.
Bound by Morrell (stamp-signed) in later full green crushed morocco with gilt frame and equine-themed gilt corner-pieces. Gilt-ruled raised bands. Gilt ornamented and decorated compartments. Broad gilt dentelles. Top edge gilt. With the leather bookplate of Joseph Widener and armorial bookplate of Clarence S. Bemens. An excellent copy of this rare series of hunting scenes.
OCLC locates only one copy (at Harvard).
“Ev’ry species of ground ev’ry Horse does not suit;/What’s a good Country Hunter may here prove a Brute;/And, unless for all sorts of strange fences prepar’d,/A Man and his Horse are sure to be scar’d” (engraved title).
“As every Country Gentleman may not comprehend the force of this expression, he ought to know, that the Meltonians hold every Horse cheap, which cannot Go along a slapping pace, Stay at that pace, Skim ridge & furrow, Catch his Horses, Top a flight of Rails, Come well into the next field, Charge an Ox fence, Go in and out clever, Face a Brook, Swish at a Rasper, and in short, Do all that kind of thing, phrases so plain & intelligible, that it’s impossible to mistake their meaning. That Horse is held in the same contempt in Leicestershire, as a Coxcomb holds a Country Bumpkin. In vulgar Countries, (i.e. all others) where these Accomplishments are not Indispensable, he may be a Hunter.” Signed: Billesdon Coplow (engraved title).
Sir Robert Frankland (1784-1849), Seventh Baron of Thirkelby, was an MP and artist, a talented amateur who later succeeded to the baronetcy as Sir Robert Frankland-Russell. He was the almost exact contemporary of Henry Alken Senior and this set of engravings was the inspiration for Alken’s Qualified Horses and Unqualified Riders.
In 1815, Henry Alken published a rejoinder to Indispensable Accomplishments: Qualified Horses and Unqualified Riders, or The Reverse of Sporting Phrases Taken from the Work Entitled Indispensable Accomplishments: “In looking over that very amusing work call’d Indispensable Accomplishments sign’d Billesdon Coplow with which I was very much delighted but could not forbear remarking that he consider’d it only necessary that the horse should come well into the next field, charge an ox fence, go in and out clever, face a brook & swish at a rasper he does not mention that to do all that kind of thing it is necessary he should be mounted by a rider of judgment and courage. I have undertaken beging [sic] his pardon to mount well qualified horses with unqualified riders and to shew the figure those horses are likely to cut during the day” (Tooley 44: “The first of Alken’s coloured books”).
1. Going along a slapping pace.
2. Topping a flight of Rails, and coming well into the next Field.
3. Charging an Ox-fence.
4. Going in and out clever.
5. Facing a Brook
6. Swishing at a Rasper.”
The London bindery of W. T. Morrell was established c. 1861 as successor to the firm begun by Francis Bedford, who, in turn, had assumed control of the esteemed bindery of Charles Lewis. Sarah T. Prideaux, in "Modern Bookbindings," states that Morrell had a very large business that supplied "all the booksellers with bindings designed by his men," bindings that were "remarkable for their variety and merit."
Schwerdt I, pp. 186-187. Silzer, p. 122. Tooley 158 (under Billesdon Coplow). Not in Abbey.