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THE extreme popularity of the Complete Angler has been so fully proved by its numerous editions, that it can scarcely be necessary to solicit the favour of the public towards one more carefully edited, and more highly embellished, than any that has hitherto appeared.
Although much had been done to illustrate that beautiful Pastoral, it was still susceptible of pictorial embellishments of a superior character ; and although great trouble had already been taken to discover information respecting Walton and Cotton, the subject was not exhausted.
The following observations will shew the particular claims of these volumes to the patronage of the public.
Of the embellishments little need be said, because the merits or demerits of works of art speak for themselves. The scenery was painted on the spot by the late Thomas Stothard, esq. R.A. by whose ingenious pencil all the other Illustrations, except the Portraits and Fishes, were drawn. The Fishes were painted from nature by James Inskipp, esq. who, to distinguished ability in his profession, unites the knowledge and ardour of a skilful angler. To his pencil the publisher is likewise indebted for the charming portraits of Walton and Cotton, “ in their vocation ;” and Mr. Inskipp’s favours have been much enhanced by the cordiality and zeal with which he has executed this important department of the work.
To general readers, as well as to Anglers, the portrait of the venerable Walton, engraved by Mr. Humphrys, after the original by Housman, in the possession of the Rev. Dr. Hawes, Prebendary of Salisbury, will perhaps prove the most attractive illustration. From that picture all the engraved portraits are said to have been taken ; but a single glance will shew, that in none of them have the real features been preserved. The present engraving is, however, no less faithful to the original than remarkable for its excellence as a work of art; and it may be said, that a perfect resemblance of the patriarch of Anglers is now, for the first time, published.
With respect to the literary. improvements which are presumed to have been made, and the plan which has been pursued, in this edition of the Complete Angler, it is to be observed that the text is that of the fifth edition, published in 1676, which was the last that was revised by the author; and the variations between it and the four previous editions are carefully indicated at the foot of each page. These variations are often curious, it being well known that Walton very considerably enlarged the second and the fifth edition of his work. As, however, a full account of the different editions of the Complete