7 - 8 April 2004
BURTON, Richard Francis. A Complete System of Bayonet Exercise. London: William Clowes and Son, 1853.
12° (180 x 110 mm). Six engraved illustrations. Modern crimson full morocco gilt, top edges gilt, new blank leaves inserted at end, red cloth box with red calf label.
A FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THIS VERY RARE WORK, the 'BLACK TULIP' OF THE BURTON CANON. Burton completed work on this manual in Boulogne 1851 while perfecting his fencing skills with his fencing master Constantin. The work met with little success and has always been the rarest of his books, with quantities first bought by foreign army authorities (particularly German). In pre-Crimean Britain, however, it was snubbed. Eight sets of exercises are detailed following Burton's argument that all military training should include extensive (rather than sporadic) work with bayonets. Penzer deemed it one of the most important works on the bayonet ever published. Eventually it was taken up by the Royal Horse Guards and long remained in use, affecting changes in the whole European system of bayonet drill until the 1914-18 war. Penzer p. 41-42. Casada 29. No copy in Spink.
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