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The Army and Navy Gentleman's Companion; or a New and Complete Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Fencing.

McARTHUR (John).

McARTHUR (John).

The Army and Navy Gentleman's Companion; or a New and Complete Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Fencing.Displaying the Intricacies of Small-Sword Play; and Reducing the Art to the most Easy & Familiar Principles by regular progressive Lessons. Illustrated by Mathematical Figures, and Adorned with elegant Engravings after paintings from Life, executed in the most masterly Manner representing every material Attitude of the Art.

Engraved title, engraved frontispiece by James Newton after James Sowerby, 16 double-page plates and three single-page plates by Newton after McArthur.

First Edition. 4to. [269 x 213 x 30 mm]. [1]f, xxiv, 159 pp. Bound in contemporary straight-grained red goatskin, the covers with a gilt fillet border. Smooth spine divided into six panels by two gilt fillets and a pallet, lettered in the second, the others with a small star, the edges of the boards hatched in gilt, the turn-ins tooled with a gilt roll, marbled endleaves, gilt edges. (Headcaps repaired, a little rubbed and darkened in patches).
London: printed for James Lavers, No.10 Strand, [1780]

Thimm p.172. Pardoel 427.

Some offsetting on the double-page plates and the frontispiece and title, and some light browning caused by the tissue guards. A very good copy bound in contemporary red goatskin.

The dedication is dated 2d December 1780. ESTC records only eight copies of this first edition, at the British Library, Trinity College Cambridge, National Library of Scotland, Cleveland Public Library, John Hopkins University, Library of Virginia, Society of the Cincinnati and Yale. A second edition was published by John Murray in 1784.

John McArthur (1755-1840) entered the navy in 1778 and enjoyed a long and distinguished career, rising to become secretary to Viscount Hood and purser of the flagship Victory. He offered this treatise on fencing as all others that he had perused "have been published by Professors, or Teachers of that art, and are incomprehensible to young learners; owing to the intricate manner they have made choice of, in describing the different movements, parades, and thrusts, which should be rendered as simple and easy as the nature of the Art would admit". The plates are after his own drawings. His other publications included A Treatise on the Principles and Practice of Naval Court-Martial (1792) and The Life of Admiral Lord Nelson (1809).

Stock no. ebc5122

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Price: £2500