[SURTEES, Robert Smith,] and John LEECH (illustrator). Handley Cross, or Mr. Jorrocks’s Hunt. London, Bradbury, Agnew, & Co., 1899. [with:]
[SURTEES,] and Hablot Knight BROWNE and W.T. MAUD (illustrators). Hawbuck Grange, or the Sporting Adventures of Thomas Scott, Esquire. London, Bradbury, Agnew, & Co., 1900. [and:]
[SURTEES,] and LEECH. Mr. Sponge’s Sporting Tour. London, Bradbury, Agnew, & Co., 1899. [and:]
[SURTEES,] and LEECH. ‘Ask Mamma’, or the richest Commoner in England. London, Bradbury, Agnew, & Co., 1899. [and:]
[SURTEES,] and LEECH. ‘Plain or Ringlets?’. London, Bradbury, Agnew, & Co., 1900. [and:]
[SURTEES,] and LEECH, BROWNE, and W.T. MAUD (illustrators). Mr. Facey Romford’s Hounds. London, Bradbury, Agnew, & Co., 1900.
6 works in 11 vols, royal 8vo, with 87 hand-coloured steel-engraved plates, and 425 woodcut illustrations in text (of which a great many full-page); titles and half-titles printed in red and black, woodcut initials throughout; 2 short marginal tears in Handley Cross vol. II; publisher’s red cloth, spines gilt, upper boards lettered directly in gilt, top-edges gilt, tail-edges trimmed, fore-edges uncut; end-caps lightly bumped, corners minimally rubbed, very few marks; a very good set.
Added to your basket:
Handley Cross series.
Limited ‘Master of Foxhounds’ edition, finely printed at the Whitefriars Press. Having published the first editions of several of Surtees’s sporting novels, Bradbury, Agnew, & Co. gathered and reprinted the six most successful as the ‘Handley Cross series’ as luxury sets. Publisher’s advertisements at the rear of the present volumes advertise, besides the ‘M.F.H. edition’, a ‘Country Gentleman’s Library edition’ and the ‘“Jorrocks” edition’ (each comprising only six volumes), described thus: ‘This inimitable series of Volumes is absolutely unique, there being nothing approaching to them in all the wide range of modern or ancient literature. Written by Mr. Surtees, a well-known country gentleman, who was passionately devoted to the healthy sport of fox-hunting, and gifted with a keen spirit of manly humour of a Rabelaisian tinge, they abound with incidents redolent of mirth and jollity. The Artist, Mr. Leech, was himself also an enthusiast in the sport, and has reflected in his illustrations, with instinctive appreciation, the rollicking abandon of the Author’s stories.’
Surtees’s distinctively adventurous style, often coarse and colloquial, has earned admirers and critics for his works in equal measure, yet his sporting novels remain the most popular of the nineteenth century. ‘His books ran counter to the currents of his age in their lack of idealism, absence of sentimentality, and almost wilful flouting of conventional moralism. 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. One Victorian theory was that such readership as he enjoyed was due to the humour of John Leech’s illustrations, a view perpetuated in the Dictionary of National Biography. Yet, paradoxically, the qualities that in his own time prevented an appreciation of his talents as a writer, preserved his books in a later age from the oblivion which befell many of his more famous contemporaries.
‘Surtees’s range was limited, his style often clumsy and colloquial. Even in the better-constructed novels the plots are loose and discursive. Nevertheless, his sharp, authentic descriptions of the hunting field have retained their popularity among fox-hunters, for whom the sanitized (and in their day immeasurably better-selling) hunting novels of George Whyte-Melville have long lost their appeal. Among a wider public his mordant observations on men, women, and manners; his entertaining array of eccentrics, rakes, and rogues, his skill in the construction of lively dialogue (a matter over which he took great pains); his happy genius for unforgettable and quotable phrases; and above all, his supreme comic masterpiece, Jorrocks, have won him successive generations of devoted followers. Although his proper place among Victorian novelists is not easy to determine, his power as a creative artist was recognized, among professional writers, by Thackeray, Kipling, Arnold Bennett, and Siegfried Sassoon, and earned the tributes of laymen as distinguished and diverse as William Morris, Lord Rosebery, and Theodore Roosevelt.’ (ODNB).
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General George Hanger to all Sportsmen, Farmers, and Gamekeepers: Above thirty Years’ Practice in Horses and Dogs, to feed and cure them of all common Disorders and to save a Dog which has been poisoned, effectually to catch all Vermin; the Rat-Catching Secret, to catch every Rat on the Premises alive, without Poison; on Fowling-Pieces, Rifles, and Muskets; to prevent Partridges being taken at Night by Drag-Nets; to breed and feed Pheasants, and prevent them being destroyed by Night-Shooters and Poachers; to catch Flocks of Wood-Pigeons and all Water-Fowl; to shoot Wild-Fowl, Pewits, Golden Plover, wild Geese, and Bustards, by Night; to approach Red Deer, within thirty or forty Yards; of Race Horses; Cure for Cattle swelled from Eating Clover; several valuable Family Receipts, &c.; embellished with a characteristic Portrait of the Author on his Return from Shooting; a new Edition.
Second edition, the first with the etched frontispiece, of Hanger’s best known work. The almost reputable product of a controversial career, the text was written by George Hanger (1751–1824), fourth Baron Coleraine, a ‘macaroni’ and ‘one of the dissipated companions of the prince of Wales’ (ODNB), whose life consisted of purchased positions in the military and extravagant spending he could ill afford. He served in the British, Prussian, and Hessian armies, transferring allegiance when promotion was more easily obtained elsewhere, and, despite his upbringing among the Gloucestershire gentry and his education at Eton College, he ‘deliberately set out to conform to the popular caricature of an Irish gentleman’ (ODNB) while also affecting the manners of the French court.
The complete Farrier and British Sportsman, containing a systematic Enquiry into the Structure and animal Economy of the Horse, the Causes, Symptoms, and most-approved Methods of Prevention and Cure of all the Diseases to which he is liable, a Detection and Exposure of the erroneous and dangerous Methods of Treatment too generally adopted, with some select and approved original Recipes for various Diseases, the whole rendered easy and familiar, with a View to general Utility, and founded on the latest Discoveries and experimental Facts, to which the Progress of Improvement for the last twenty Years in the veterinary Art has led, including a faithful Delineation of the various Dogs used in the Sports of the Field, with canine Pathology, interspersed with sporting Anecdotes, and an Account of the most celebrated Horses, Dogs, &c. &c. &c., equally important and interesting to the British Sportsman, as to Inn-Keepers, Coach-Masters, licensed Horse-Dealers, Farmers, Owners of Stage-Waggons, &c., embellished with a Series of Engravings executed by eminent Artists, from original Drawings in the Possession of Noblemen and Gentlemen of the Turf … with an Appendix, containing a minute anatomical Description of the bony Structure, or Skeleton of the Horse, the moving Powers or Muscles of that noble Animal, and the different Viscera or internal Parts scientifically explained and illustrated, together with an Abstract of the Game Act of 1831, &c. &c.
Likely first edition, dedicated ‘to the noblemen and gentlemen of the Quorn Hunt’. Much unlike his earlier scholarly work on veterinary science, Lawrence’s Complete Farrier and British Sportsman is written for gentlemen and noblemen with an interest not in farriery but in fox-hunting, discussing both horses and hounds. The text is illustrated by plates, the majority decorative rather than diagrammatic, and accompanied by amusing anecdotes, including those relating to Philip Astley. Having begun his career a well educated advocate of the academic approach to the veterinary art, it is not known what drove Lawrence to write a work of popular farriery for huntsmen.