WILLIAMSON, Thomas (1790-1815) and Samuel HOWITT (?1755-1822). Oriental Field Sports; being a complete, detailed, and accurate description of the wild sports of the East. London: William Bulmer and Co. for Edward Orme, 1807.
Oblong 2° (460 x 580mm). Additional title stencilled in colours and 40 hand-coloured aquatint plates by H. Merke, J. Hamble and Viveres after Howitt and Williamson. (Some light marking, spotting or browning, occasional offsetting from the plates onto the text, vertical creases to additional title, title and dedication, additional title with small, skilfully-repaired hole.) Contemporary half roan gilt, boards decorated with gilt and blind rolls, upper board titled in gilt, spine gilt in compartments and titled in one, marbled edges (a little rubbed and scuffed, rebacked retaining original spine, endpapers and flyleaves with peripheral tears).
FIRST EDITION.'THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK ON INDIAN SPORT IN EXISTENCE' (Schwerdt). '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 it 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. In this copy, plates XIII and XIV are numbered in reverse order (correctly according to the list of plates, but incorrectly according to the accompanying text, which is correctly paginated), and plate XXXI is in Tooley's presumed first state, titled 'Hunting Jackals' rather than 'Jackals rescueing a hunted brother'. The list of plates has been bound in after the preface. Abbey Travel 427; Mellon Books on the Horse and Horsemanship 88; Nissen ZBI 4416; Schwerdt II, pp. 297-298; Tooley 508.