London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1880. Item #04122
Richard Jefferies 'The Gamekeeper at Home'
In a Fine Exhibition Binding by Zaehnsdorf
[ZAEHNSDORF, binder]. [JEFFERIES, Richard]. The Gamekeeper at Home: Sketches of Natural History and Rural Life. With illustrations by Charles Whymper. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1880.
First illustrated edition. Octavo (7 3/4 x 5 3/8 inches; 192 x 137 mm.). xii, 219, 1, blank] pp. With forty-one line illustrations in the text.
Bound ca. 1900 in a fine 'Exhibition' binding by Zaehnsdorf (stamp-signed in black on front silk paste-down). Full dark green morocco, covers with elaborate gilt pointille decoration surrounding a fox, a dog, a trout and a partridge in the corners (front cover also lettered in gilt), spine with five raised bands, elaborately tooled in gilt with sporting devices and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt ruled board edges and elaborate gilt turn-ins, pale green silk liners and end-leaves, all edged gilt. The rear liner with the Zaehnsdorf 'Exhibition' stamp in black. Upper and lower extremities of front joint expertly and almost invisibly repaired, otherwise very fine. Small booksellers label of Philip C. Duschnes on rear liner. With the bookplate of the ornithologist Frank S. Hatch on front blank. Housed in a later fleece-lined green cloth slipcase.
The Gamekeeper at Home was first published without illustrations two years earlier, in 1878.
John Richard Jefferies (1848-1887) was an English nature writer, noted for his depiction of English rural life in essays, books of natural history, and novels. His childhood on a small Wiltshire farm had a great influence on him and provides the background to all his major works of fiction. The Gamekeeper At Home is probably his best known work, truly reflecting those by-gone days when the Gamekeeper was a vital part of rural activities. He discusses the man himself and how he fits into the community and examines his relations with his family. His area of activity is covered - the fields, the woods, the meadows and the ponds and streams. The world around him needs protection from the predators that kill the game and disturb the balance of nature. There is contact with his dogs and other animals such as rabbits and deer as well as the traditional enemies such as the fox. All parts are brought together so the reader can sense the activity of the countryside and the efforts to keep its integral parts operating in harmony. This understanding is enhanced by the masterly drawings by Charles Whymper.
Charles Whymper (1853-1941), was a prolific book illustrator specializing in travel, animal, and hunting themes.