7 - 8 April 2004
BURTON, Richard Francis. A New System of Sword Exercise for Infantry. London: William Clowes, 1876.
8° (188 x 125mm). Wood-engraved half-title, one plate and illustrations. Original red cloth double-ruled in blind, cover lettered in gilt. Provenance: M. Constantin. (Presentation inscription).
THE CONSUMMATE COPY OF THIS WORK, COMBINING THE VERY RARE FIRST EDITION, BOTH A PRESENTATION COPY FROM THE AUTHOR, AND IN A VARIANT BINDING, this copy inscribed 'À l'ami Constantin' on front endpaper by Burton. This binding without crossed swords in gilt on the cover, is known only on Burton's own copy held by the R.A.I. Only 500 copies of the entire edition were printed according to the publisher. A closer association between author, presentee and subject matter would be difficult to find: Burton the brilliant swordsman, Constantin the great master, and the student's book on their shared passion. While Burton was in Boulogne in 1851 awaiting Isabel's decision on his proposal he studied long and hard with Constantin, earned the title of Maitre d'armes and seems to have been a fearless if unorthodox swordsman. Kirkpatrick 54. This binding not in Penzer.
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