A very scarce 1710 re-issue of the first edition (1687)

Hope, William (1660- 1724).

The Compleat Fencing-Master: in which is fully describ’d all the guards, parades and lessons belonging to the small-sword; as, also the best rules for playing against either Artists or others, with blunts or sharps. Together With Directions how to Behave in Single Combat on Horse-Back: Illustrated with Figures Engraven on Copper-Plates, representing the most necessary Postures... The third edition. London, W. Taylor, [1687]-1710.

Hope, William (1660- 1724) The Compleat Fencing-Master: in which is fully describ’d all the guards, parades and lessons belonging to the small-sword; as, also the best rules for playing against either Artists or others, with blunts or sharps. Together With Directions how to Behave in Single Combat on Horse-Back: Illustrated with Figures Engraven on Copper-Plates, representing the most necessary Postures... The third edition. W. Taylor, [1687]-1710.

Small 8° (152x90 mm). [22], 197 [i.e. 167], [17] pages. Title-page is a cancel. Twelve engraved folding plates. Nineteenth-century English calf, covers within double blind-ruled frame. Spine with five raised bands, title on morocco lettering-piece. Red edges. A good copy, some light browning throughout, margins somewhat trimmed.

Provenance: John Whitefoord Mackenzie (1794-1884; engraved armorial ex-libris on the front pastedown). He was a member of the Society of Writers to His Majesty's Signet.

The exceedingly rare 1710 re-issue – after the editions which appeared in 1687, 1691 and 1692 – of this treatise by Sir William Hope, indicated on the title-page as 'Lieutenant Governor of the Castle of Edinburgh'. Hope is the author of many works on fencing, but the The Compleat Fencing-Master is undoubtedly his most complete and important treatise, as well as the first book on this topic to be published in Britain. A true manual for fencers, the text clearly epitomises the body of practical knowledge surrounding the discipline and remained the standard textbook until the end of the eighteenth century.

This 1710 publication is basically a re-issue of the first 1687 edition, the only one bearing the title The Scots Fencing-Master. The title-page was recomposed with a new title and imprint, while the rest of the book – as the running title 'The Scots Fencing Master' attests – belonged to the 1687 edition, whose unsold copies were thus offered for sale with a new title after twenty-three years. The first quire is composed of eleven leaves, owing to the fact that in the 1687 edition the title had been printed on two leaves, and are replaced here by only one.

The 1710 re-issue is unknown to most of the specialised bibliography. Over his lifetime, John Whitefoord MacKenzie, the former owner of the present copy, assembled a fine collection of early Scottish books, most of which are distinguishable by his bookplate. His library was sold by Thomas Chapman & Son in two sales in 1886. A good number of his books are now in the National Library of Scotland.

ESTC N27837; Pardoel 1282; C. A. Thimm, A Complete Bibliography of Fencing and Duelling, London 1896, p. 138; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 223.

$ 7.800
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