Amsterdam / Harlingen: Peter Conrad / Volkert van der Plaats [through 1786], MDCCLXXXIV . First Edition. Quarter-Calf. Rare complete copy of this early classic in the literature of whaling, illustrated with finely engraved maps of the polar regions, including one of the earliest maps showing the whole of the Arctic and perhaps the first map of Nova Zembla. Four volumes bound in one, each with title page and separate pagination. 4to (250 x 202mm): vii,,96, with four plates (three folding) and two folding maps; iii,,116, with one plate and three folding maps; ,116, with nine plates (one folding), and folding map; ,116pp, with one folding plate, the magnificent lifting of the nets, depicting the fleet of ships and sloops used in the fishery. Contemporary quarter calf over speckled paper-covered boards, spine in six compartments divided by double gilt rules, tan leather lettering piece gilt, all edges speckled brown. A Fine, wide-margined example, tightly bound in contemporary (probably original) boards, virtually pristine, with bright, fresh pages and strong impressions of type and plates. Sabin 101231. Cat. BM (Natural History) v, p. 2262. Dean II, p. 701. Fine. Item #BB2003
The first three parts on the whale fishery and the fourth part on the herring fishery also were published separately, in 1786. The whole was reissued in 1791 with a new title: Nieuwe Beschryving der Walvisvangst en Haringvisschery (Sabin 36634 and 55284). A French version, with the title “Histoiree des Pêches . . . des Hollandois dans les Mers du Nord,” translated by Bernard de Reste, appeared in Paris, in 1791 and again in 1801. The author of this whaling manual is unknown. The names on the title pages of later editions are those of the engravers: Dirk de Jong, Hendrik Kobell (1751-1779), and Matthias de Sallieth (1749-1791). Sabin raises the possibility of attribution to Van der Plaat, based on Barbier, who suggests that the Dutch original was based on Zorgdrager’s work. De walvischvangst stands out for its attention to the wider context in which whaling took place. Apart from the practical aspects of whaling and herring fishing, it describes not only the seas where fishing occurred, but also the surrounding lands, the people that lived there, and the flora and fauna. One expert on Dutch whaling history, Joop Schokkenbroek, wonders whether the author’s intention was to revive interest in the whaling industry, which, by the final years of the eighteenth century, was in steep decline. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).