12mo, pp. , 111, , with an initial advertisement leaf for Ustonson and an advertisement on the final page for Kirby’s fishhooks (each with woodcut of a crown and fish at the head), and with a half-title; slightly toned and foxed at the extremities, small wormtrack to inner margin at front, else a very good copy in contemporary speckled sheep, rebacked, edges worn.
US $947 €869
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[SMITH, John?]. The True Art of Angling: being a clear and speedy Way of taking all Sorts of Fresh-water Fish … To which is added, an Account of the Season and Spawning Time of each Fish, and an Account of the principle Rivers, the Fish they produce, and the proper Places to angle for them in each River.
The last eighteenth-century edition of an angling classic first published in 1696 and much reprinted and updated by other authorities. Having ‘passed several editions’, the introduction claims, it has been revised to omit ‘superfluous’ oils and ointments, ‘carefully corrected’ throughout, and expanded to include the accounts of spawning and of the principle rivers (of London) – in fact these contents had formed part of the work since at least 1740. What are new here are the songs ‘The New Angler’, ‘The Milk-Maid’s Song’, ‘The Milk-Maid’s Mother’s Answer’ and ‘Coridon’s Song’ at the end of the volume. The eagle-eyed will spot that two of these are curious Elizabethan interlopers with no discernible connection to fish: Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Passionate Shepherd to his Love’ and the ‘Nymph’s Reply’ to the same by Raleigh.
This is the only work published by Onesimus Ustonson (b. 1736), fishing tackle manufacturer and inventor of the multiplying reel. Ustonson set up shop in the late 1760s as the successor to John Herro at ‘No. 48 Bell-Yard, Temple Bar’; two years after this work was published he supplied equipment to Joseph Banks for Cook’s second voyage. The company continued in family hands through the nineteenth century.
Very uncommon. ESTC lists five locations: BL, Canterbury Cathedral (imperfect); Harvard (2 copies), NYPL, and Princeton. Several versions of the advertisement leaf are also listed separately by ESTC and were evidently issued with other works or as trade cards.
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