2 June 2004
FALCONER, William (1732-1769). The Shipwreck: a Poem ... with a Life of the Author by J.S. Clarke. London: William Miller, 1811.
8° (240 x 135mm). Extra-illustrated with 14 original watercolours by P.H. Nicolas (104 x 150mm. or smaller). Contemporary straight-grained green morocco gilt, covers with wide border of gilt fillets and blind-rolls, spine gilt with repeated blind and gilt ornament (joints and corners rubbed, upper joints splitting, inner hinges split).
EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH A SERIES OF FINE WATERCOLOURS. Eight of the designs are mounted on brown paper as plates, one forms a title vignette painted onto blank c8, and five others are cut out and mounted as head- or tail-pieces to the text. William Falconer's nautical poem describes the wreck of the Britannia, a vessel on which he was serving as a young second mate when it was wrecked off Cape Colonna in Greece. First published in 1762, over a decade after the shipwreck itself had occured, it reached its eleventh edition in 1802 and remained popular in the early decades of the new century, this copy receiving the attention of a little-known but clearly talented watercolourist, P.H. Nicolas.
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