WEBBER, Charles Wilkins (1819-1856)
The Hunter-Naturalist. Romance of Sporting; or, Wild scenes and Wild Hunters
Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1852. Large 8vo. (9 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches). 9 (of 10) chromolithographic plates (5 after Alfred Miller and printed by L. Rosenthal), 3 full-page wood-engravings, 32 wood-engraved vignettes.
Publisher's green cloth, covers blocked in blind, spines in gilt and blind
The first American book with chromolithographic plates, including images after Alfred Jacob Miller. This copy includes the plate of Elephants (after p.537), not mentioned by Howes and often missing.
This lively work includes chapters on the author's friends J.J. Audubon and Daniel Boone, but one of the chief attractions is the fact that it includes one of Alfred Jacob Millers very rare ventures into the realm of book illustration. The author heaps praise on the work of the first artist of the Rockies: "How splendidly he has accomplished his mission those who may not be familiar with his former work will at once comprehend, in looking over the five first Lithographs in this volume. I say with perfect confidence that it remains yet for Art in this country, to approach the amazing fidelity and spirit of these Drawings - and his glorious portfolio is but yet just opened!" (introduction pp.5-7). This work is also the earliest American book to be illustrated with chromolithographs: again, Webber waxes eloquent "I hope so far to perfect, through the skill of my Lithographer, Mr. Rosenthall, the processes by which he has produced these unparalleled specimens of the art of Printing in colors on stone, as to be able to present [in the projected future volumes] all the figures of animal life in color and at a cost which will come within the limit of the present volume. This I shall regard as indeed a triumph ... I scarcely think that any specimens of that mysterious art can be produced in England ... that will compare with my first five lithographs by Rosenthall and Kramer, from Miller - at least I am very well content to abide the issue of public sentiment with regard to this first experiment in a novel field!" (introduction, p.7).
Bennett p.110; Henderson p.187; Howes W196.