DANIEL, William Barker (1754–1833). Rural Sports. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, & Ome, 1807 - 1813.
4 volumes. 4to., (11 x 8 4/8 inches). Half-titles, engraved title-pages, engraved portrait, and 70 engraved plates, including one coloured, 2 engraved letterpress tables (some spotting). Contemporary tan calf, gilt and blind (rebacked in brown morocco to style).
Provenance: with the engraved armorial bookplates of Robert Townley Parker dated 1850; Myles C. Radford; and H. Barnard-Hankey on the front paste-down of each volume.
First published in 1801. A manuscript note tipped-in to the front endpapers of volume II states: "The Pointers belong to Sir Larkin, to whom the Compiler is extremely obliged, for the loan of a very excellent Picture, by Sir Chalon, from which the plate was taken". The plate appears opposite page 440 in volume II.
Daniel's "notoriety stemmed principally from his authorship of Rural Sports, published in 1801... Proving very popular among contemporary sportsmen and even naturalists, the volumes describe in detail hunting, coursing, and fishing and contain many impressive plates interspersed with occasional references to Daniel's own exploits. They were reissued as a three-volume set in 1812, with a supplementary fourth volume, dedicated to the marquess of Blandford, published in 1813. The latter, though written in a more careless style, contained a miscellany of anecdotes and receipts. Rural Sports provided the basis of many more modern texts and constitutes an early historical record of shooting before the introduction of the revolutionary breach-loading guns in the mid-nineteenth century. The significance of Daniel's text was still being eulogized as late as 1886 on the grounds that it contained: one of the earliest, if not the earliest authentic accounts of wild-fowl shooting with punt and gun, beside many incidents connected with fowling, that are of great interest as records of the sport of catching and shooting ducks in past days. (Walsingham and Gallway, p. 314)" (John Martin for DNB). Westwood and Satchell, p.76; Schwerdt I, pp.133-34