Six books, finely bound in six full-leather and gilt decorated volumes, of Robert S. Surtees sporting works. Surtees' biting wit is, perhaps, more enjoyable now than in Victorian England, and this is a wonderful collection of his most successful works.
With many hand coulored illustrations (pochoir, each plate was individually coloured) and many more black and white wood engravings. The illustrations by Leech are especially well-regarded.
This set includes:
Hawbuck Grange, or The Sporting Adventures of Thomas Scott, Esq.
Plain or Ringlets, illustrated by John Leech
Handley Cross, illustrated by John Leech
Ask Mamma, or The Richest Commoner in England, illustrated by John Leech
Mr. Romford's Hounds, illustrated by John Leech and Browne
Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour, illustrated by John Leech
These would be a fun and treasured gift for the hunter/book reader.
About the Literature -
“Surtees was not among the most popular novelists in the nineteenth century. His work lacked the self-conscious idealism, sentimentality and moralism of the Victorian era; the historian Norman Gash asserted that ‘His leading male characters were coarse or shady; his leading ladies dashing and far from virtuous; his outlook on society satiric to the point of cynicism.’ Thomas Seccombe, writing in 1898 for the Dictionary of National Biography, said that it was the illustrations of Leech that gave Surtees' work any notability: ‘The coarseness of the text was redeemed in 1854 by the brilliantly humorous illustrations of John Leech, who utilized a sketch of a coachman made in church as his model for the ex-grocer. Some of Leech's best work is to be found among his illustrations to Surtees's later novels, notably Ask Mamma and Mr. Romford's Hounds. Without the original illustrations these works have very small interest.’ However, for the very reasons that the Victorians deprecated him, Surtees' work has continued to be read long after some of his more popular contemporaries have been forgotten.” - Wikipedia
Physical Attributes -
Each vol. measures approx. 22 x 15 x 3.25 cm. Full crushed red leather. Boards with hinges in blind, and fillet around outside edges with jockey cap in the corners. Spines with five raised bands, a jockey cap, fox, hound and horseshoe in gilt in four compartments, title and author in gilt in the other two. Top edge gilt. Turn-ins with a double gilt fillet. Endpapers a heavy attractive red washed (paper?- see picture). Pochoir (hand coloured) and black & white illustrations throughout; richly illustrated.
Undated, but 19th century.
See pictures. Leather is a little dry and worn, with edge wear, shelf wear, corner wear, joint wear, etc.. Some rubs/scrapes on spines and darkening. Top front Handley... joint cracked 2 cm. Some dust to edges. Pages toned throughout. Hounds has a name and address on the blank unpaginated front endpapers, "Dupleix". Occasional foxing (fairly rare). Some little binders notes on plates and endpapers (numbers). Occasional thumb mark and spot. Handley Cross title page loose and chipped around edges. An occasional page edge chip elsewhere throughout. Two leaves of "contents" loose in Plain.... As a set, fun and engaging, with sporting gilt decorations on the spine belying the many hand-colored (and funny) illustrations within.
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