FENCING. BURTON, Sir Richard Francis. A Complete System of Bayonet Exercise. Vancouver: Pierway Inc., 2002.
8vo (182 x 108mm). Original red cloth flexible covers, blocked in blind with borders and panels, lettered in gilt on upper cover, marbled endpapers; pp. 36, [4 (advertisements)]; illustrations in the text; fine.
Facsimile edition, no. 417 of 750 copies, reproducing the extremely rare first edition (London: William Clowes and Sons, 1853). A Complete System of Bayonet Exercise is Burton's rarest book and only a handful of copies are believed to survive. Penzer states that, 'There is no record of this book in either sale-room or second-hand catalogues' and Casada (writing nearly seventy years later) judges that, 'Some indication of the little work's rarity is given by the fact that the present author has never seen a copy for sale'; only one copy is recorded at auction by ABPC since 1975 (the Quentin Keynes copy, sold Christie's London, 7 April 2004, lot 228, for £11,950). 'This is probably the rarest of all Burton's books, and forms one of the most important works on the bayonet ever published, and to it can be traced the change in the systems of bayonet drill adopted in most European countries. I believe I am correct in saying that until about ten years ago it was impossible to find any work on the subject which was not based on Burton’s work. Large numbers of it were purchased by foreign army authorities (particularly German). There are copies in the Kensington Library, the War Office Library, and at the British Museum. The two latter copies are in the original binding and in good state' (Penzer). This facsimile edition -- which is enclosed within a reproduction of the original binding -- is based upon the British Library (formerly British Museum) copy, and a portion of the proceeds of publication went to the Burton Memorial Restoration Fund.
For the original edition, cf. Casada 29; Penzer pp. 41-42.