5 April 2016
BOUGARD, René (fl. 1684). The Little Sea Torch: or, True guide for coasting pilots. Translated, with corrections and additions, from the French into English by John Thomas Serres. London: T. Rickaby for the author by J. Debrett, 1801 [plates watermarked 1796; text watermarked 1799].
2° (430 x 268 mm). 20 hand-colored aquatint plates by J. Stadler after J.T. Serres (comprising 127 subjects), 12 hand-colored engraved charts (comprising 24 subjects) by John Luffman (first four plates with two circular stains). (Lower corners of first ten leaves repaired, text leaves with intermittent central circular stain and occasional associated repairs affecting text, L1-2 with long vertical repaired tear crossing text.) Early 20th-century cloth-backed boards, printed paper spine label (wear at extremities).
FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF ONE OF THE MOST ELEGANTLY ILLUSTRATED NAVIGATIONAL BOOKS EVER PUBLISHED. Bougard's Le petit flambeau de la mer was first published in 1684. Serres translated the work and added his magnificent views to this English edition. The plates are views of headlands, ports, lighthouses, landmarks and harbor entrances which served as visual guides for navigators. Serres turned these utilitarian subjects into art, depicting more than 50 vessels in the plates in all states of rigging and attitude, from a man of war to a 12-oared galley with lateen sales. Serres was Marine Painter to the King, as had been his equally famous father Dominique the elder. The plates include fine town views of Valetta, Palermo, Naples and La Spezzia and the 24 harbor plans show soundings and approaches to Atlantic and Mediterranean ports from Dieppe to Corfu. Eleven views of the lighthouses include the old Eddystone, the Dublin and the ones at Cannes and Ville Franche. Abbey Travel 344 [plates watermarked 1799]; Phillips Atlases 2852.
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