[JOHNSON, J.] An Historical and Descriptive Account of Antigua, illustrated by numerous engravings. coloured in imitation of drawings taken on the spot.., accompanied by a map of the islands... with a list of proprietors, number of slaves, &c. &c. and a chronological table of events connected with the colony. London: printed by Henry Baylis for the author, 1830.
Oblong 2° (465 x 580mm). Errata slip, 'advertisement' slip, half-title. 1 folding hand-coloured engraved map by J. & H. Neele after Johnson, in sections backed onto linen, 1 lithographic headpiece, 1 letterpress and lithographic section title, 2 full-page hand-coloured lithographic maps, 7 FINE HAND-COLOURED AQUATINT PLATES, all after Johnson, by C. Bentley (2), G. Reeve (1), T. Fielding (1), E. Duncan (2) and one unsigned but marked 'Proof'. (Light old dampstining to the two final plates, small section of folding map damaged at fold, occasional light red staining to blank inner margins of plates from facing tissue guards.) Contemporary red straight-grained half morocco, spine gilt, large purple morocco label on upper cover, elaborately bordered and lettered in gilt (resewn, rebacked with original spine laid down, paper on covers and endpapers replaced).
VERY RARE: THE LAST COPY OF THIS WORK LISTED AS HAVING SOLD AT AUCTION WAS IN MARCH 1925. Johnson began with the grand design of publishing a large series of Views in the West Indies (see lot 115), with each part containing images and descriptions of a number of islands. According to an 'Advertisement' slip issued with the third part of West Indies this plan was abandoned after only three parts because of the objections that were made 'to the form in which [the West Indian] Views [were]... published'. Evidently, purchasers wanted to be able to buy views of individual islands. The 'Advertisement' continues: 'to enable purchasers to select scenes in one particular island, each number will in future contain views in one island only.' The present work, which includes amended versions of six of the views which had previously appeared in the Views in the West Indies and one additional view not published before, appears to have been the only offshoot of the earlier work to reach fruition. Difficulty in finding subscribers seems to have forced Johnson to abandon the idea of a series of works on individual islands: 'When the first specimen of the Work was prepared for inspection, it was intended by the Author, that the Work itself should appear at a much earlier period... That intention, however, was accompanied by an expectation that a sufficient number of Subscribers would have been obtained... In this [the author]... has been much disappointed' ('Advertisement' leaf). In fact so few people had come forward, Johnson goes on to write that he is not sure if it is even worth printing the list of subscribers. Not in Abbey or Tooley.