The Complete Angler by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton, Edited by George A.B. Dewar, Winchester Edition, Two Volumes, 1902

Walton, Izaak, with Charles Cotton. The Compleat Angler… Edited by George A.B. Dewar. London: Fremantle & Co., 1902. Winchester Edition. Two volumes, royal 8ov. Presented with its original green cloth gilt stamped front board, rebacked with modern Moroccan leather, with raised bands, gilt titles, tooling, and stamps to the spine. Illustrated with etchings by William Strang and D.Y. Cameron.

Presented is a 1902 printing of Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton’s famous treatise on fishing, The Compleat Angler, or the Contemplative Man’s Recreation… Published by Freemantle & Co. in London, this two volume set was edited by George A.B. Dewar and contains an essay by Sir Edward Grey. This “Winchester Edition” is presented with its original green cloth gilt stamped front boards, rebacked in modern Moroccan leather. The book is illustrated throughout with etchings by William Strang and D.Y. Cameron.  

The Complete Angler was first published in 1653 by Richard Marriot of St Dunstan-in-the-West out of London, UK. Izaak Walton continued to add to the original book for a quarter of a century. A significantly enlarged edition appeared in 1655, and the last edition supervised by Walton, published in 1676, included additional fly-fishing material written by his friend Charles Cotton. The 1676 edition has been among the most often reprinted books in English literature.

The Compleat Angler remains one of the most important environmental books in history. Through the characters of Auceps the fowler, Venator the hunter, and Piscator the fisherman, Walton imparted a view of the natural world that was revolutionary at the time. Walton understood that a healthy environment was essential to the outdoor recreation that he loved, and used the story of Piscator and the novice fisherman Venator to show how a healthy environment supports the art of angling. 

Though intended in part as a practical guide for fishermen, the lasting influence of “The Compleat Angler” stems from its qualities as a work of literature: it is arguably the best long prose-pastoral in English.  The discourse between Piscator and Venator as Piscator teaches Venator how to bait a hook, catch varied species of freshwater fish, and cook them, is enriched with songs and poems, folklore, recipes, anecdotes, moral meditations, quotes from the Bible and from classic literature, and lore about fishing and waterways. 

Edited by George A.B. Dewar, this 1902 “Winchester Edition” is based on the text of the 1676 fifth edition. The volumes presented here are either the first or second edition to be edited by George A.B. Dewar. The first and second Dewar editions were published in the same year, with the same plates. The only printing difference between the two is that “Freemantle & Co.” was replaced by “Lippincott” at the foot of both spines. As this set is rebacked, with new spines, it is impossible to tell if this is the first or second Dewar edited edition. Nevertheless, all Dewar editions are celebrated for his interpretation of and reverence to the original Walton and Cotton text. Dewar was an avid outdoorsman himself, and wrote many other titles on the subject, including The Book of the Dry Fly, The South County Trout Streams, Life & Sport in Hampshire, and Wild Life in Hampshire Highlands, among others. 

Izaak Walton's classic celebration of the joys of fishing has captivated anglers and nature lovers with its timeless advice and instruction. This printing of The Compleat Angler would be the perfect addition to any sportsman’s library. 


Very good condition. Two volumes, royal 8vo. Presented in original green cloth and gilt front boards, rebacked in modern Moroccan leather.  Spines with raised bands, gilt titles, tooling, and stamps. Paper is healthy, with only light toning. Numerous etched plates by William Strang and D.Y. Cameron. Past owner’s bookplate. Coigney 215-16.  Dimensions for Volume 1: 9 1/4" H x 7 3/8" W x 2" D. Dimensions for Volume 2: 9 1/4" H x 7 3/8" W x 2" D.

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