Martial Achievements of Great Britain and Her Allies; from 1799 to 1815, The
London: Printed for Js. Jenkins… by L. Harrison & J.C. Leigh, [1814-15]. Item #03340
An Amazing Large-Paper Copy with the Majority of the Plates in Three States
[JENKINS, James]. [HEATH, William, artist]. The Martial Achievements of Great Britain and Her Allies; From 1799 to 1815. London: Printed for Js. Jenkins… by L. Harrison & J.C. Leigh, [1814-1815].
First Edition, Large Paper Copy with the majority of the plates in three states.
Large quarto (13 1/8 x 11 inches; 335 x 277 mm.). Engraved (uncolored) vignette title-page (verso blank); engraved dedication leaf to the Duke of Wellington in two states, uncolored and colored; dedication to Duke of Wellington 2 pp., Description of vignette title (verso blank), Introduction 4 pp., Contents (list of plates) 2 pp., 60 unnumbered leaves of text, List of subscribers 4 pp.
Extra 'colored' copy of plate 35 "Siege of St. Sebastian" used as an additional frontispiece and fifty-two hand-colored aquatint plates, including frontispiece (described as vignette title), dedication, and fifty-one views of military scenes and battles, by T. Sutherland, D. Havell, M. Dubourg, J. Hill et al from drawings by William Heath. Forty-nine of the plates are in three states, outline, uncolored and colored. The two other plates (numbers 11 & 18) are in two states, uncolored and colored.
Plates watermarked “J. Whatman 1812”; text watermarked, “J. Whatman 1812.” With the exception of the 'Duke of Wellington' dedication leaves (uncolored and colored) which are watermarked "J. Whatman 1818" and "J. Whatman 1820", and plate 42 'Blowing up of the Bridge at Elster' which is watermarked "J. Whatman 1820".
Contemporary maroon scored calf, covers decoratively paneled in gilt. Expertly rebacked (about 50 years ago) with original spine laid down. Spine with five raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt, gilt board edges and turn-ins, red cloth endpapers, all edges gilt. Bookplate of Joel Spitz on front paste-down. Housed in a fleece-lined red buckram slipcase.
A wonderful copy with the majority of the plates in three states. Abbey had a large-paper copy in the original thirteen parts (December 1814 through December 1815), but with the plates in colored state only. He makes no mention of copies with the 'plates in three states' - only Tooley makes note of this. It is quite fascinating to see the progression of the plates from the outline to the uncolored and then finally to hand-coloring.
Provenance: acquired from Ackermann, Chicago, 1944.
Excessively rare - the last copy with the plates in three states to appear at auction was nearly forty years ago.
The Abbey copy (together with the Naval Achievements) sold for just under $9,000 in April 1976.
In a discussion of color plate books on Wellington and Waterloo (“a literature in themselves”), Prideaux distinguishes this volume and Jenkins’s 1817 companion volume, Naval Achievements of Great Britain and Her Allies, as “worthy of their theme; nor could one desire a finer record of heroic deeds” (pp. 223, 224).
William Heath (1794 - 1840) was a British artist. His early works often dealt with military themes, and this is probably the best known of his illustrated military books. Some of his later caricature works were published under the pseudonym Paul Pry.
Abbey Life 365; Prideaux, p. 34; Tooley 281 ("Large-paper copies exist with the plates in three states.").