Every gentleman's manual. A Lecture on the art of self-defence. With animated sketches of the most celebrated pugilists during the last century; also, a visit to the Irish champion's tomb. Embellished with several attitudes of the most accomplished boxers in the P.R. Likewise a spirited etching of John Jackson, Esq. illustrating the advantages of a knowledge of the art of self-defence to the late Lord Byron. By Pierce Egan, jun.
Publisher: London: Sherwood and Bowyer, Strand
Publication Date: 1845
Book Condition: Very Good
Edition: 1stFirst edition, from the Sporting Library of Nathaniel C. Reynal. iv, 199 printed pages. Frontispiece, plate and 5 full-page illustrations. Tiny nick and very short closed tear on fore-edge of frontis. Plate depicts Lord Byron sparring with boxer John Jackson. Reynal's engraved bookplate on front free endpaper. Top edges gilt. Marbled endpapers (lower corner missing from front free endpaper). All pages evenly and lightly toned. Professionally and sympathetically strengthened on inside hinge with crimson binder's tape. 12 x 19 cm. Contemporary half crimson morocco, signed on verso of front free endpaper by D. MacDonald, binder, N.Y. Spine in six compartments decorated with hand-tooled, gilt boxers and championship gold cups alternating downwards, gilt lettering and date. Spine laid down and top few millimetres worn. Boards with crimson Levant morocco over marbled paper. Corners bumped and edges very slightly rubbed. Pierce Egan (1772-1849), a British journalist, sportswriter, and writer on popular culture, wrote the first three of four volumes of Boxiana; or Sketches of Ancient and Modern Pugilism that appeared, lavishly illustrated, between 1813 and 1824. John Jackson's academy was popular with the nobility and gentry and became a profitable business. His friend, the famed English poet George Gordon Byron, known as Lord Byron, an avid boxing fan, related in his diary that he regularly received instruction in boxing from Jackson. Jackson also profited from providing exhibitions for English and foreign lords and celebrities. Included among those for whom he arranged exhibitions were the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia, the Prince of Wales, and the Prince of Mecklenburg. Jackson's introduction of the sport to English and European royalty, made boxing a more admired and to some extent accepted sport in England. PROVENANCE: This copy was lot 102 in the second part of the disposal of Nathaniel C. Reynal's "Rare Sporting and Colored Plate Books" sold Thursday afternoon, February 6, 1913 at the Anderson Galleries. OCLC 14157501. WorldCat lists two copies, one in the National Library of Scotland and the other in the Alexander Turnbull Library in New Zealand. Not in the British Library. This is a rare boxing book (catalogued as a single lot in a collection of sporting books deemed rare in 1913), with an impressive provenance and an attractive, signed contemporary binding.