The Complete Angler or Contemplative Man's Recreation, Being a Discourse on Rivers, Fish-ponds, Fish, and Fishing - Izaak Walton, Charles Cotton, Sir John Hawkins, J. E. Harting 1893 - Samuel Bagster and Sons, London - The Harting Edition. Tercentenary Edition. No. 300 of 350 copies. ‘Indeed, my good scholar, we may say of angling, as Dr. Boteler said of strawberries,
" Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did ";
and so, if I might be judge, God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling
.’

A finely bound two volume set of the Harting Edition. With 54 illustrations and additional vignettes, and embellishments after John Linnell, G. E. Lodge, Huysman, Alexander, Wale, Samuel, and Percy Thomas, engraved by Audinet, Hayter, and Greig.

‘Edited from a Naturalist point of view’ by J. E. Harting, librarian of the Linnaen Society of London. The date of the founding of the Bagster publishing house was April 19,1794, and this profusely illustrated edition, limited to 350 numbered copies, was partly intended to commemorate the event. Included is an abridgement of the Lives of the Authors by Sir John Hawkins

It breathes the very spirit of innocence, purity, and simplicity of the heart. There are many choice old verses interspersed in it; it would sweeten a man's temper at any time to read it’ - Charles Lamb in his letter to Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
  The illustrations include 22 full page engravings, 4 engraved maps, letters and title page, ten in-text engravings, and 17 engravings of fish to the rear of volume II.

James Edward Harting was born in 1841 in London, and educated at Downside College, near Bath, and at the University of London. After practising as a solicitor until he was almost forty, he turned to zoological pursuits. In 1871 he became editor of the natural history section of The Field, and in 1877 he took over the editorship of The Zoologist.

He wrote numerous books, among them a critical examination and explanation of the ornithology of Shakespeare, and account of the famous Wild White Cattle, and a bibliography of falconry. He edited Gilbert White’s
Natural History of Selbourne as well as The Compleat Angler, as G. Christopher Davies and Edward Jesse had done before him.

The Compleat Angler was first published in 1653, but Walton continued to add to it for a quarter of a century. It is a celebration of the art and spirit of fishing in prose and verse. By the fifth edition of 1676 the thirteen chapters of the original had grown to twenty-one, and a second part was added by his friend and brother angler Charles Cotton, who took up Venator where Walton had left him and completed his instruction in fly fishing and the making of flies. As of 2014, The Compleat Angler is the third most published book running to almost 300 editions, only topped by the Bible and the Complete Works of Shakespeare.

Izaak Walton (1593-1683) was the son of a Stafford alehouse keeper. We know little of his early life but around 1611, he was apprenticed to Thomas Grinsell, of the Ironmonger’s Company. Walton completed his apprenticeship in 1617 and by 1624 had his own business a linen draper’s shop in Fleet, Street, London. In 1636, he married Rachel Flood and they had seven children. Rachel died in 1640, preceded by six of their children. The seventh child died two years later. Izaak married again in 1647 to Anne Ken and they had three children, two of whom lived into their sixties. After acquiring the draper’s shop, Walton held several public posts in his parish of St Dunstan’s in the West and became a senior member of the Ironmongers Company.

Whilst Izaak Walton was born of fairly humble origins, he had friends and contemporaries of social distinction. His first book was published in 1640 and was a biography of John Donne, the churchman and poet. In May 1963,
The Compleat Angler or The Contemplative Man’s Recreation was published, it was re-issued four times during his life and the final edition in 1676 included a supplement on fly fishing written by his very close friend, Charles Cotton. Walton and Cotton spent many hours together, fishing on the River Dove.

Walton’s wealth increased during his lifetime, and he bought Halfhead Farm at Shallowford, where the Izaak Walton Cottage stands today. Walton never lived in the cottage but rented it out. Today, the cottage is a museum where the life and times of Izaak Walton is depicted. The museum also contains many items relating to the history of angling. Izaak Walton died at the age of 90 and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Reference: Westwood & Satchell,
Supplement to Bibliotheca Piscatoria 20. Coigney, Izaak Walton A New Bibliography 164. Oliver, A new chronicle of The Compleat Angler, 151.

Two quarto volumes (26 x 20 cm). pp. [2] xix [1] 245 [5]; [6] 243 [3].
  In later three-quarter green morocco over matching cloth, spines lettered and ruled in gilt and with piscatorial emblems, top edges gilt, marbled endpapers.   Condition: Near fine, light foxing, in find bindings   Ref: 108835   Price: HK$ 10,000