The Sportsman's Companion: or Portraitures, Pedigrees, and Performances, of the Most Eminent Race Horses and Stallions, Represented in Variety of Attitudes. Interspersed with Tail Pieces and Embellishments Alluding to the Sport. Calcuated for the Utility of Entertainment of the Nobility, Gentry, Breeders, &c.

Roberts, James & Henry (drawn and engraved by)

Published by C. Brown, 1820
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8vo. 22.5 by 14.5 cm. 40 hand-colored plates, numbered, each featuring a different champion horse, with a portrait of said horse on the top third of the page, followed by a biography of the horse and his resume of achievements. Often the bottom has a vignette, some equine related, others, more allegorical and/or decorative in nature without direct relevance to the subject. There are a total of 34 such tailpieces, all of which are also hand-colored. This book was first issued, it is generally believed, in 1760 (see Huth 38, which cites the 1760 and this edition, which had slightly different titles) and was quite possibly the first book of its kind, celebrating the finest race horses of the earlier part of the century with carefully drawn portraits minutely hand-colored. Any edition of the book, though, is hard to come by and highly desirable. (Eight institutions have physical copies of one of the editions according to OCLC First Search.) The original longer title noted that the plates could be made into the "most elegant & pleasing Furniture", and indeed, this exhortation was most certainly followed by many buyers of the book, for it is easy to picture the plates as being used as decoration on box tops and the like, not to mention the obvious wall hanging, and this active harvesting of the plates helps to explain the scarcity of surviving intact copies of the work. Also Podeschi 62-3, which has the most detailed bibliographic infomation on the book. With the cover replicating, without the coloring, part of the final plate featuring the Bay Arabian, and the rear containing a publisher's ad. Two 1837 equine articles are pasted respectively on the front and rear endpapers. Some minor abrasions of the cover, and moderate, acceptable wear besides. Housed in a modern, handsome quarter morocco box, with equine devices on the spine, blue cloth boards, marbled paper interior. Hardcover. Paper pastedown. Cloth spine. Quarter morocco box. Bookseller Inventory #

Bibliographic Details

Title: The Sportsman's Companion: or Portraitures, ...
Publisher: C. Brown
Publication Date: 1820
Book Condition: Very Good

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