The Complete Angler by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton, Edited by John Major, Second Lippincott Edition, Limited Issue 84/250, 1881

Walton, Izaak, with Charles Cotton. The Complete Angler… Edited by John Major. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., n.d. [1881]. Second Lippincott Edition. Limited Edition de Luxe issue, numbered 84 of 250 copies. Thick 8ov. Presented in modern cloth boards with a spine paper label, renewed endpaper. Illustrated with numerous plates and vignettes in india paper.

Presented is an 1881 printing of Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton’s famous treatise on fishing, The Compleat Angler, or the Contemplative Man’s Recreation… Published by J. B. Lippincott & Co. in Philadelphia, this volume was edited by John Major. This is the second Lippincott edition, a reissue of the John Major edition of 1844. Major produced a superb series of editions of the Complete Angler from 1823 to 1844.

This 1881 volume was printed in a limited Edition de Luxe run of only 250 copies, with 150 printed for America and 100 printed for England. This book is numbered 84 of 250. The volume is presented in modern cloth boards with a paper spine label. The book is illustrated throughout with numerous plates and vignettes on india paper.  

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. 

Izaak Walton's classic celebration of the joys of fishing has captivated anglers and nature lovers with its timeless advice and instruction for centuries. Edited by John Major and published during the height of the 19th century revival of this story, this printing of The Compleat Angler would be the perfect addition to any sportsman’s library. 


Good condition overall. Thick 8vo. Presented in modern cloth boards with a paper spine label, and renewed endpapers. Interior pages are healthy with some marginal spotting or browning. Numerous plates and vignettes on india paper. Second Lippincott Edition.  Limited Edition de Luxe issue, hand-numbered 84 of 250 copies on the limitation page. Coigney 113.  Dimensions: 9 1/4" H x 6 3/4" W x 2 3/4" D.

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