One of two copies printed on vellum. Thomas Gosden's copy?
WHITNEY, John. The Genteel Recreation; or the Pleasure of Angling, A Poem. With a Dialogue between Piscatory and Corydon. London, Printed in the Year 1700. [But Covent Garden, R.H. Burn, Printed by J. Johnson]. 1820.
Small 8vo., in full red morocco, boards with double gilt fillet and blind rules, central gilt rococco style cartouche of fish (from an known ornament for Thomas Gosden), spine with raised bands bordered in gilt and blind, lettered in gilt, gilt ruled turn-ins, all edges gilt. Printed thoughout on vellum.
Second edition, after the very rare privately printed edition of 1700. Limited edition of "not more that 100 copies", this one of only 2 copies printed on vellum, with printed limitation thus on verso of title-page, and with an inserted sheet at the front with a manuscript note "Only two copies of this book printed on vellum expressly for Mr Simonds Higgs of Kensington and Mr T. Gosden of St. Martin's Lane"
The appearance of the Gosden tool on the boards would suggest that this was the copy given to Thomas Gosden. However, in the sale catalogue for the library of noted bibliophile William Simonds Higgs (Sotheby's 1830), lot 58 comprised this work which sold for 3 guineas. Frustratingly the binding is not described but there is a note of a manuscript leaf that is identically worded to that in this copy.
Each copy may have had matching manuscript leaves, or Gosden may have also bound Simonds Higg's copy. Whichever copy this is, it nonetheless is a real rarity, with a fine provenance coming from one of two important piscatorial libraries.
The original 1700 edition is a noted rarity in the canon of fishing books, the last copy at auction fetching £20,000 in 2012.