The Complete Angler by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton, Edited by Harris Nicolas, Fourth Nicolas Edition, 1887

Walton, Izaak, with Charles Cotton. The Complete Angler or the Contemplative Man’s Recreation… Edited by Sir Harris Nicolas. London: Chatto and Windus, 1887. Fourth Nicolas Edition. Small 8vo. Presented in modern full brown Moroccan leather with raised bands, gilt titles, and tooling to the spine, stunning illustrated gilt title to the front. Top edge gilt. Illustrated throughout. 

Presented is a 1887 printing of Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton’s famous treatise on fishing, The Complete Angler, or the Contemplative Man’s Recreation. Published by Chatto and Windus in London, this beautifully bound volume was the fourth edition to be edited by Sir Harris Nicolas. The book is presented in modern full brown Moroccan leather boards with gilt titles and illustrated throughout with wood engravings from 27 of the most prominent artists of the time.

The Compleat 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. 

Izaak Walton's classic celebration of the joys of fishing has captivated anglers and nature lovers with its timeless advice and instruction. Edited by Sir Harris Nicolas, with additions of memoirs of Walton’s life and stunning 19th century illustrations, this printing of The Compleat Angler is made even more collectible and would be the perfect addition to any sportsman’s library. 


Very good condition. Small 8vo. Presented in modern full brown Moroccan leather with raised bands, gilt titles and tooling to the spine. Top edge gilt. The original cloth covers were retained as central panels.  Paper is healthy, with only light toning. Numerous wood-engraved plates and vignettes, with one plate loose. Past owner's bookplate "J. Roy W. Barrette" pasted to marbled front endpaper. Coigney 134.  Dimensions: 8" H x 5 3/4" W x 2 1/8" D.

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