London: W. Bulmer and Co., 1796. First thus. Finely bound by Mansell in full tree calf with gilt and morocco to spine. All edges brightly gilt. Marbled endpapers. A tall copy measuring 290 x 225mm and collating xv, [1, blank], vii, [1, blank], 126: complete including 13 wood engravings by Bewick. A lovely copy, with minimal rubbing along joints; internally fresh and unmarked.
The best-known poem by country gentleman Somerville, The Chase is a "Miltonic blank verse that traces the history of hunting up to the Norman Conquest of England (1066) and gives incidental information on kennel design, stag hunting, otter hunting, and the breeding and training of dogs" (Britannica). It was first published in 1735. In a most English poetic form, Somerville captures the feel and the origins of elite English country life; and his words are brought to visual life with Bewick's intricate illustrations. (Item #5141)