London: S. & J. Fuller, at the Temple of Fancy…, 1820. Item #05109
One of Alken's Finest Sets (Schwerdt)
Six Remarkable Hand Colored Etched Plates
ALKEN, Henry. How to Qualify for a Meltonian; Addressed to all Would-be Meltonians. By Ben Tally-Ho… The Second Edition. London: S. & J. Fuller, at the Temple of Fancy, 1820.
Second edition. [Identical to the edition]. Oblong folio (13 3/8 x 16 3/4 inches; 338 x 425 mm.). Wrapper title, three leaves of letterpress including a prefatory note and two leaves of descriptions of the plates. Rear wrapper with advertisements. Six remarkable hand colored etched plates, each with 'running title', title and imprint "London Pub July 16. 1819. by S & J Fuller at their Sporting Gallery, 34 Rathbone Place."
Late twentieth century full red crushed levant morocco, covers ruled in gilt, front cover lettered in gilt, smooth spine, double gilt ruled turn-ins, marbled endpapers. Publishers buff printed wrappers bound-in. Minor expert repairs to edges of wrappers otherwise fine.
The original wrappers, the text and the plates are identical to the first edition of 1819 with the exception of the addition "Second Edition" and the change of date to "1820".
OCLC locates just two copies in libraries & institutions worldwide (both dated 1819): The Huntington Library (CA, USA); Art Institute of Chicago (IL, USA). There is no reference in OCLC to the 'second edition' of 1820. We found just one auction record for the 1820 edition over the past fifty years. We did locate one other copy in the original wrappers at the National Trust UK, Calke Abbey, Derbyshire.
"The text is rare and frequently missing." (Tooley).
"One of the finest of Alken's sets, produced during the great period of the Leicestershire hunts, of which the plates are well drawn and coloured. A series of six desperate riders, mounted on their thoroughbreds, is depicted, as Alken states in the introduction,
"My motive is, to give some little instruction for the Qualification of a Meltonian, and at the same time to warn all aspiring persons of the difficulty they have to encounter even in the endeavor at perfection in this extreme of Sporting excellence. The next best thing to being a man of high consideration, is to be taken for one: to be thought in any way like a Meltonian is honour quantum suf. for ninety-nine in a hundred.
You have here six conspicuous points of Meltonianship, accompanied with some slight remarks; and should any one have the good fortune to accomplish but three out of the six, he will stand a fair chance of being taken for another --- at any rate, that he is not himself. Ben Tally-Ho."
" A subtle sense of humour is apparent in these pictures and text, adding to the charm of this book, which is very rare in the present state." (Schwerdt I, pp. 15-16).
Meltonian. A person who hunts at Melton Mowbray; (hence) a skilled or experienced fox-hunter; Of or belonging to Melton Mowbray; especially of, or relating to, or characteristic of fox-hunting as practised around Melton Mowbray (Oxford Dictionary).
1. How to go to cover.
2. How to appear at cover.
3. How to ride down hill.
4. How to take a leap.
5. How to go thro' an overflow.
6. How to take the lead.
Bobins IV, 1372; Dixon, 14; Mellon/Snelgrove, p. 11; Schwerdt I, pp. 15-16; Siltzer, p. 69; Tooley, 29. (All referring to the first edition of 1819).