The engraver John Scott's own unique bound collection of the first proofs and the first published impressions of each plate (without text). Signed and inscribed by Scott. Folio. Contemporary full brown calf with boards ruled and decorated in gilt, spines with six gilt decorated compartments and titles in gilt. All edges gilt. Marbled endpapers. Complete with 58 full page engraved plates on thick laid paper, comprising 2 first impressions of the two engraved title pages, 2 proof engravings of the title page vignettes, 25 proofs of the published plates, 25 first impressions of the published plates, first impressions of three further plates (a fox's face, a series of small animal vignettes, and a plan of a kennel), and a later engraved portrait frontispiece of Scott dated 1826. A near fine copy, the binding square and tight with the spine expertly re-backed and rubbing to the boards and corners. The contents with two nineteenth-century armorial bookplates to the front pastedown (one for Charles Deane, the other for Paxton Parkin) and the very occasional minor mark to the page margins are otherwise wonderfully clean and fresh throughout. The plates are superb, rich impressions and remain exceptionally clean.
Inscribed in ink by Scott to the blank page facing the engraved front portrait: "This book contains the first impressions of the plates / which were struck off before the writing was put in and / is the only set extant. Witness my hand / John Scott", and additionally inscribed "Signed with the presence of / C. Deane by Mr. Scott". A unique collection of the proof and first impression plates for the third English book published on the subject of dogs. Renowned for its particularly fine illustrations, the engravings by John Scott (1774-1827) after Philip Reinagle RA (1749-1833) demonstrate the immense talent of these two leading animal artists of the period. Born in Newcaste-Upon-Tyne, Scott was first apprenticed to a tallow chandler in the city's old meat market, studying drawing and engraving in his spare time. After finishing his apprenticeship and moving to London he quickly gained recognition as a rising artistic talent, producing studies of racehorses for the Sporting Magazine and later working on W. B. Daniel's well-known British Rural Sports (1801). "He became the ablest of English animal engravers, and his Sportsman's Cabinet (1803), History and Delineation of the Horse (1809), and Sportsman's Repository (1820), earned him great celebrity...The recognition he received for his work as an animal engraver is clearly captured in a drawing of him by J. Jackson engraved by W. T. Fry, which shows him sitting in his studio, looking confidently towards the viewer, a painting of a dog behind him" [the first engraving in the present volume] (ODNB). The engravings which form the present volume are in a truly superlative state, with a striking visual depth and conveying a great sense of the character of the individual dogs depicted. As Scott states, this was the only set created thus, and so remains the finest obtainable copy. A beautiful and important work, in an amazing state of preservation. [Hubbard, The Literature of British Dogs, p. 27-29].
Stock code: 18060
London: J. Cundee.