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NORTH, Roger (1653-1734)

A Treatise on Fish and Fish-Ponds, by the Hon. ROGER NORTH illustrated with eighteen beautifully-coloured specimens, by EBENEZER ALBIN

London, published by J. Goodwin, MDCCCXXX, 4to (331 x 235 mm.), pp.(4), 92, with 18 hand-coloured copper plate engravings. Contemporary style half black straight grained morocco, early green cloth sides, gilt lettering and ruling. Slight staining to cloth. Printed on watermarked Whatman paper dated 1822 (4 pages) and 1824 (8 pages). Contemporary hand-colouring. Almost invisible tiny blind stamps of the Boston Society of Natural History on some pages.

A complete and clean copy, in very good condition.

History of publishing: "A Discourse of Fish and Fish-Ponds by an anonymous author" was first published by Edmund Curll in 1713. Most likely this treatise on fish farming was written by Roger North. This issue plus a series of eighteen plain plates of fresh-water and marine fishes drawn and engraved between 1735 and 1740 by the Albin family (Eleazer, Elizabeth and Fortin) appeared in 1794 under the title "The history of Esculent Fish" with plates drawn and engraved by Eleazar Albin, and "An Essay on the Breeding of Fish, and the Construction of Fish-Ponds, by the Honorable Roger North. This 1794 and uncoloured edition appears to have been a publisher’s venture. Evidence for this assumption comes from Nissen (1969) and Dean (1917). The series of plates by the Albins is mentioned by Nissen as no  57 Icones Piscium. The plates, however, have never been issued under this title. They were appended to The history of esculent fish to which text has been written at some period posterior to 1774 (Dean II, p. 200). We noticed in the text of our copy (a second edition) some references to the nomenclature by Artedi and Linnaeus. Since the works of these Swedish scientists appeared a few years after Roger Norths death in 1734 it seems likely that an anonymous author contributed to the first edition (1794). After publishing of the second edition (1830) other issues entered into the market (1832-1835).

The presence of watermarks in paper in conjunction with the years marked under the engravings by the artist gives more information on the publishing history of the book:
The Barbell, Elizabeth Albin depictio, paper watermarked J. Whatman 1824
Carp, Eleazar Albin delineavit, paper not watermarked
The Chub, Fortin. Albin delin. 1740, paper not watermarked
The Cod Fish, E. Albin Delin. paper not watermarked
The Haddock, Fortin. Albin delin. 1740, paper not watermarked
The Herring, E. Albin Del. paper not watermarked
a Mackarel, Eleaz. Albin del.
a Mackarel, Eleazar Albin delinavit.July 21. 1735
the Mullet, Eleaz Albin Delin., paper not watermarked
The Pearch from the River Rhine, ELeaz. Albin del: May 1 1739, paper watermarked J. Whatman 1824
A Pearch, Eleazar Albin Del. July 8. 1736, paper watermarked J. Whatman 1824
The Pike, Eliza. Albin delin.
The Roach, E Albin Del: 1739.
A Shad, Eleazar Albin Del. June 30. 1736.
A Tench, Eliz. Albin Delin May 27 1737, paper watermarked J. Whatman 1824
A Salmon Trout from Berwick on Tweed, E Albin
the Trout; Albin Fecit
The Whiting Fortin Albin. delin, paper watermarked J. Whatman 1824
Comparisons of the images of the 1830 edition with those of the 1794 edition reveal that they are not mirrored. We assume that the publisher (Goodwin) has used the original copperplates of the the 1794 edition for manufacturing the second edition. It is noteworthy that in the same year (1830) another classic on fishes by Bennett was printed on watermarked J. Whatman paper as well.


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