Byng, John, Viscount Torrington. Edited by Donald Adamson.
Title RIDES ROUND BRITAIN.
Binding Hard Cover
Book Condition Very Good
Publisher London Folio Society 1996
Illustrator Anne Hayward.
Seller ID 29447
505 pp, 8vo (8" H). Bound in quarter orange-brown buckram, Ann Muir marbled paper boards; dark brown endpapers. Plain dark brown slipcase. Frontispiece and 25 half-page and smaller b&w engravings by Anne Hayward, 9 maps by Denys Baker. A countryman at heart, Byng travelled throughout Britain on horseback whenever his position at the Stamp Office would allow him to escape from London. As a chronicler of the eighteenth-century, "Byng travels with an observant though never a roving eye. At times it is the eye of the modern photo-journalist, as when he records a meeting with Humphrey Repton, visits Sarah Siddons in her dressing-room at Birmingham, or glimpses Warren Hastings changing horses on his way to Daylesford. At other times his eye is more like that of the self-taught but well-trained artist, as when he admires the flickering tapers of Yordas Cave or the Kentish hop-pickers working in all haste among the twinkling lights of the hopfields. At Cromford in Derbyshire the bustle and brilliance of Arkwright's great cotton 'manufactory' even blind him to what he basically regards as the horrors of creeping industrialism: 'The cotton mills,' he observes, 'seven storeys high and fill'd with inhabitants, remind me of a first-rate man of war and, when they are lighted up on a dark night, look most luminously beautiful.' As is now widely acknowledged, (Byng) is one of the greatest British travellers of the eighteenth or indeed of any century. Not only has he produced an excellent travel guide (as, in a way, he intended to do); his work is also a major contribution to the social history of England and Wales - and especially Welsh social history. (This book) is, finally, a masterpiece of social observation, written with as fine an eye for detail as Jane Austen's and (like Pepys diary) superb in its delineation of its author's own character." Some light rubbing to paper on boards. Slipcase has minor rubbing and one very small edge bump.