Stock No. 1029BS
Memoirs of the Life of the Late John Mytton, Esq. of Halston, Shropshire … With Notices of his Hunting, Shooting, Driving, Racing, Eccentric and Extravagant Exploits. By Nimrod. With Numerous Illustrations by H. Alken and T.J. Rawlins. Second Editon, Reprinted With Considerable Additions from the New Sporting Magazine. London, Rudolph Ackermann 1837. 8º, pp. ix, 206, , 8 (Ackermann’s Catalogue), the preliminaries bound out of order, with an additional engraved title-page and eighteen hand-coloured etchings/aquatints as called for. Original publisher’s cloth gilt, date at foot of spine, rebacked retaining original backstrip, replacement endpapers. Internally watermarks affecting the inner corners of some of the pages and many of the plates, but not detracting from the vivid colouring.
This celebrated work is a factual account of the life of John (“Mad Jack”) Mytton, 1796 – 1834, first published as Memoirs of the Life of the Late John Mytton Esq. in 1835. Mytton was the epitome of the Regency rake – drinking and gambling to excess, and a fanatical sportsman dedicated to the pursuits of the field. He had no care for money, and squandered or gave away his entire inheritance. As well as being impulsive and uncontrollable he was capable of great generosity and kindness. Moreover he was physically immensely strong and quite fearless. In the end he was killed by his excesses. The author, who was his close friend, refers to “the anomaly in human nature which the character of John Mytton presents – at one time, an honour to his nature; at another, a satire on humanity”.
There is some dispute about which of the three Ackermann editions (first 1835, second 1837, third 1851) is the “best”. They are distinguished from all later editions by the richness and quality of the hand-colouring of the plates, enhanced by the use of gum arabic. The first edition had only twelve plates, and three of these were discarded in later editions. The second and third editions have eighteen plates. And the third edition has a memoir of Nimrod by Robert Smith Surtees (author of Mr. Sponge’s Sporting Tour, etc.).
The present copy has several faults, described above, in view of which it is offered as an inexpensive example of one of the most important plate books of the nineteenth century.