WALTON, Izaak (1593-1683). The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative man's Recreation, being a discourse of Fish and Fishing, not unworthy the perusal of most anglers. London: Thomas Maxey for Richard Marriot, 1653.
8° (140 x 85mm). Title within engraved piscatorial cartouche, 6 engravings of fish within text variously attributed to Lombart, Faithorne or Vaughan, that of a trout on F4r with caption, 2 pages of music for "The Angler's Song" by Henry Lawes with one page printed upside down as intended to enable two singers to sing facing each other, type-ornament headpieces, woodcut initial. (Without final blank, leaves F4, Q5-8 and R1-3 in facsimile, possibly other leaves supplied, a few headlines just shaved, washed and pressed.) Early 20th-century olive morocco gilt, panelled sides with corner fleurons and central lozenge, gilt spine with two red leather labels, edges rough gilt; red morocco-backed slipcase with chemise, spine tooled in gilt with crest and motto "veritas", by James McDonald, New York. Provenance: John Peachey (1749-1816, West Dean, Sussex, F.R.S. and M.P., 2nd Baron Selsey from 1806; bookplate dated 1782 preserved) -- Harry T. Pethers (sale Sotheby's, 5 December 1960, lot 135, £145 to Maggs) -- Bent Juel-Jensen (acquired from Maggs, February 1961, for £225).
FIRST EDITION of a cornerstone of English literature. Walton wrote his classic work as a dialogue between an angler and a traveller, who discuss, expound and instruct on the art of fishing. They also detail how to cook fish. The fish illustrated by engravings are: trout, pike, carp, tench, perch and barbel. Subsequent editions were greatly revised, giving the first edition an importance even greater than in the case of other works (Pforzheimer). Owing to its use as a fishing manual, most surviving copies are in poor condition. The present copy has A3r and p.88 in their uncorrected state; other leaves in two states (pp.88 and 245) are here in facsimile. Grolier, English 31, Grolier, Wither to Prior 947; Pforzheimer 1048; Westwood & Satchell 217; Wing W-661.