Captain Thomas Williamson (1790-1815) and Samuel Howett (?1755-1822)
Oriental Field Sports; being a complete, detailed, and accurate description of the wild sports of the East. London: William Bulmer & Co. for Edward Orme, 1807. Oblong 2° (458 x 572mm). Additional title printed in pochoir, 40 hand-coloured aquatint plates by H. Merke, J. Hamble or Viveres after drawings by Howett and Williamson. (Old vertical creases to additional title, title, dedication leaf, and foot of plate V, some very light, generally unobtrusive, discolouration or very occasional spotting to a few text leaves and plates I and II, neat repair to upper blank margin of text pp.26-7.) Modern red half morocco by Riviere & Son, red morocco title label mounted on upper cover lettered in gilt within a triple-fillet border, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second and third, two upper wrappers to original parts, printed in pochoir, laid down on pastedowns, g.e. (a few small marks to covers).
THE FIRST EDITION OF "THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK ON INDIAN SPORT IN EXISTENCE" (Schwerdt), bound up from the 20 original parts. "It is not merely to the Sportsman, that this Work is addressed... the curious observer of Nature will feel equal transport, in contemplating that part of her works, which she has appropriated to other soils. The Artist may reap a rich harvest of information... The Philosopher and the Historian may either confirm or correct their conceptions of former details." (Preface). The preface also makes clear that, although the work depicts field sports taking place in India, it is primarily a record of the chase as enjoyed according to the European taste, i.e. hunting as a sport rather than as a spectacle.
The Abbey copy had variant numbering, with two plates numbered XVI, two numbered XVII, two numbered XVIII, and none numbered XI, XV, or XXXIII. This copy has complete consecutive numbering except for plates XIII and XIV where the numbering is transposed. Plate XXXI is in Tooley's presumed first issue, reading 'Hunting Jackals' rather than 'Jackals rescuing a hunted brother', although both plates bear the same date, January 1st 1806. Abbey Travel 427; Mellon Books 88; Nissen BBI 4416; Schwerdt II pp. 297-298; Tooley 508.