THORNTON, Colonel Thomas. A Sporting Tour through Various Parts of France, in the Year 1802... In a series of Letters to the Right Hon. The Earl of Darlington. [London]: Printed by James Cundee of the Albion Press for Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, 1806.

$ 1,850.00

2 volumes. 4to., (12 x 9 4/8 inches). 4-page publisher's advertisement at end. Half-titles. Additional engraved vignette title-pages, frontispiece portrait of Thornton, 10 folding aquatints, 36 full-page aquatints, 6 engraved plates of views, and 2 of musical notation, numerous aquatint and engraved tail-pieces throughout after Bryant and M. Lucas (title-pages and engraved plates with some heavy spotting, else a bright copy, one or two pages loose). Original blue paper backed drab paper boards, printed paper labels on the front covers, uncut (extremities and backstrips worn with loss, soiled).

First and only edition, of an extraordinary tour through a France ravaged by the Napoleonic wars, probably during a brief hiatus between the wars of the Third and Fourth coalitions. With the celebrated portrait of Colonel Thornton with his falcon, within a border of sporting emblems, which "is of great artistic merit" (Schwerdt).

"The various Tours performed on the Continent during the short pacific interval that succeeded the late war, have communicated much useful and interesting intelligence to the British public. But as no French Tour of a Sporting natures has yet issued from the press, it is humbly presumed, that the subsequent letters may claim some degree of attention, both on account of their novelty, and the acknowledged perfection of their author in all the various sports of the field. The sporting intelligence contained in this work may be implicitly relied on, ... It is much to be regretted, that the ravages of war are carried into those fertile plains where nature and cultivation formerly united to exhibit the most luxuriant scenery to the eye of the contemplative traveller, and where the mind of the antiquary found ample amusement among the venerable castles that adorned and diversified the interesting landscape; but where those magnificent abodes are now stripped of their interior decorations, and mournfully dilapidated; whilst the revolutionary mania has even extended to the recesses of the ancient forests, levelling the sturdy oak, and destroying, or chacing away, the feathered tenants of those umbrageous abodes." (Preface). Abbey Travel 84; Schwerdt II p.261. Catalogued by Kate Hunter