London, South Kensington
1 September 2008
Observations on the Breeding of Horses, within the Provinces under the Bengal Establishment. Calcutta: P. Pereira, 1814. 4° (light waterstain in lower margin of a few leaves, outer margin of K1 and upper corner of M1-2 with paper flaw, small stain on about eight leaves), contemporary blue morocco (spine chipped along joints with slight loss, rubbed). Provenance: Richard Strachey, Ashwick Grove (presentation inscription and bookplate).
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed on first blank: "Richard Strachey Esquire from his oblidged Friend William Moorcroft". William Moorcroft (1767-1825) was the first Englishman to complete a period of formal veterinary training. In March 1792 he set up practice as a horse veterinarian in London where he came "to the notice of the East India Company, for whom he began to buy breeding-horses. In 1807 he agreed to go to India to take charge of the company's stud operations ... it was clear that fundamental progress could not be made until bigger, bonier horses could be secured to improve quality. In 1811 Moorcroft set off to the north-west; he travelled 1500 miles, buying stock and collecting information. The trip convinced him that the answer to the stud's problems lay in the horses coming through the markets beyond the north-west frontier" (ODNB). "Not published", according to the statement at the top of the title-page. The BL online catalogue lists only the later edition of 1886. Not in Huth or Mellon/Podeschi.
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