The Angler’s Vade Mecum: by CHETHAM, James (1640-1692).

The Angler’s Vade Mecum: by CHETHAM, James (1640-1692).
‘one of the original writers on the sport’
CHETHAM, James (1640-1692).

The Angler’s Vade Mecum: Or, a Compendious, yet full, discourse of Angling: Discovering the aptest Methods and Ways, exactest Rules, properest Baits, and choicest Experiments for the catching all manner of fresh Water Fish. Together with a brief Discourse of Fish-ponds, and not only the easiest, but most Palatable ways of dressing of all sorts of Fish, Whether belonging to Rivers, or Ponds; and the Laws concerning Angling, and the Preservation of such Fish. The Third Edition, Illustrated with Sculptures: and very much Enlarged. London, William Battersby, 1700.

Third Edition, ‘Very Much Enlarged’; issue (a) with phrase ‘illustrated with sculptures’. 8vo, (157 x 94mm), pp. [viii], 326, [10], with the two engraved plates, bound facing each other after the preface, tears through text on B3 and B7, with no loss but rather fragile, the chapter on ponds (Chapter 38, pp. 243-251) marked up by an early owner, in contemporary panelled calf, plain spine, foot of spine chipped, sprinkled edges, with the later booklabel of Commander E.R. Lewes.

An attractive copy in an elegant, contemporary binding, of this important early fishing manual. First published anonymously in 1681, Chetham’s detailed account of the art of fly-fishing reveals a wealth of personal experience and skill and is written in a clear, concise and frequently witty manner. Chetham’s study covers all aspects of the sport, including observations on the most commonly encountered fish, the different lines to be used, descriptions of the dub-flies to be used each month and instructions on protecting the fish and their habitats. Chetham also includes instructions for the dressing of different types of fish as well as numerous recipes for the baking, roasting, frying, broiling and stewing of the catch, together with instructions for such delights as ‘eel pye’ and the recipe for ‘an excellent French bread to eat fish with’.
‘Chetham’s prefaces are in Diogenes’ vein, curt and caustic; he escapes from the category of manual makers, and takes rank as one of the original writers on the sport. He is indebted, indeed, to his forerunners, but acknowledges it; he improves on their systems, and calls attention to the fact. He is never servile, nor plagiaristic, always honest, sometimes a little surly’ (Westwood & Satchell p. 60).
One of two editions of 1700, this is a paginary reprint of the second edition of 1689. This issue has the phrase ‘illustrated with sculptures’ on the title-page and has the two engraved plates, each with six fishes and carrying the imprint ‘Printed for William Battersby at Thavies Inn Gate near St. Andrews Church in Holborn’. Seven of the fourteen errors listed in the errata of the second edition have been corrected. Copies of this work are seldom found in such good condition but are frequently rebacked or rebound and wanting one or both of the plates. Other than a couple of small tears, this is an excellent copy internally and externally.

Wing C3791; Westwood and Satchell, Bibliotheca Piscatoria, pp. 59-60.

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