HOUGHTON, William. British Fresh-Water Fishes

London, William Mackenzie, [1879].


£ 1,800


FIRST EDITION. Folio. Two volumes in one. Illustrated with 41 chromolithographed plates of fish engraved by Benjamin Fawcett after drawings by A.F. Lydon and numerous steel-engraved plates of angling locales. Bound in blue half morocco and marbled paper over boards, blind-stamped piscatorial motifs, title, author’s name on spine in six compartments with raised bands, upper edge gilt. “Houghton, a Shropshire clergyman, aimed his book at the fisherman rather than the naturalist, and the text (of which there is, unusually, plenty) gives information about recognition, feeding and breeding habits, habitat, bait and so on” (Buchanan, Nature into Art, 168). Alexander Francis Lydon’s plates, which were printed by Benjamin Fawcett, show each fish in what is meant to be its natural habitat. For this work, Houghton studied the specimens in the collection of the British Museum. British Fresh-Water Fishes is notable for its incorporation of the naturalistic backgrounds of the fish habitats. The fact that this work has been reprinted in subsequent editions from the 19th century through the 1980s attests to the quality and interest of the descriptions and illustrations, even though taxonomists have since revised some of the classifications. Wonderful copy, clean, fresh and crisp.

Westwood & Satchell 247. Nissen, ZBI 2009.