VIDAL, Emeric Essex (1778-1861). Picturesque illustrations of Buenos Ayres and Monte Video. London: R. Ackerman, 1820 [watermarked 1818].
Large 4° (360 x 285mm). 24 hand-coloured aquatints by T. Sutherland, G. Maile and J. Bluck, after Vidal, 4 folding. (Occasional light spotting or offsetting to text leaves, several plates with light offsetting noticeable in sky areas.) Uncut in original red roan-backed boards with publisher's printed paper label on spine (some light wear). 20th-century blue leather slipcase titled in gilt.
A FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION of 'the only notable colour plate book in English dealing with the Argentine' (Tooley), with uncut edges and pre-publication watermarks. Originally issued in monthly parts, the volume form was then published in boards, in two formats, with 750 elephant quarto copies, priced at £3. 3s. 6l., and 50 large paper copies at £6.6s. According to Abbey and Tooley, there appear to have been four issues, the first being the parts in wrappers, followed by three issues in different bindings, the present copy in boards probably being the earliest of those. English interest in South America flourished after the capture of Buenos Aires by Commodore Sir Home Popham and Colonel Beresford in 1806. These two 'privateers' sent booty back to London with a reported value of £1,100,000. Ackermann exploited the widespread and substantial interest in South American affairs that these events had aroused, through a number of fine publications including Vidal's views. Vidal served in the navy from 1808, and, from 1801 to 1802, as a secretary to the Admiral Lambert on H.M.S. Vigo stationed at St Helena. Abbey, Travel 698; Tooley, 495; Sabin 99460; Colas 3000.