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A selection of 18th century sporting prints published as part The Gentleman's Recreations, intended for the education and edification of the British country gentleman at the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. The entire set consists of three parts, the first being an introduction to the liberal arts and sciences, and the remainder of the book a guide to sporting and agriculture at the English Country house. The sporting subjects are the full gamut of British pastimes of the period including hunting (fox, fowl, stags, etc.), falconry, and fishing. A number of the prints are dedicated to the arts of painting and sculpture, depicting classical male nudes in standing or action poses as one might find in ancient Greek or Roman art. The agriculture section was illustrated with allegorical prints of ancient Roman goddesses of agriculture: Ceres the Roman name for the Greek Demeter, goddess of agriculture; Flora, the goddess of flowers; and Pomona, a wood-nymph whose attributes are the cultivation of gardens, especially fruit-bearing plants. The goddesses are seated in the foreground of scenes set in the fields and gardens of the kind of British country estate where Blome's prototypical gentleman resided. Many plates have engraved dedications in the lower margin to the aristocratic patrons who subscribed to the original publication.
Richard Blome was among the most active publishers of cartographic and illustrated books in late 17th and early 18th century London. He was the first publisher in England for 40 years to prepare a new folio world atlas, the first in over 60 years to publish a new set of folio county maps, the first to seriously plan an illustrated description of London, and the first to plan a series of volumes related to the various world continents. In the 1680s, Blome issued The Gentleman's Recreation, The History of The Old Testament and a three-volume translation of the works of French philosopher Rene Descartes.
Full Title: The Gentleman's Recreations: In Three Parts. The Full Part contains A Short and Easie Introduction to all the Liberal Arts and Sciences, &c. The Second treats of Horsemanship, Hawking, Hunting, Fowling, Fishing, Agriculture, &c. Done from the most Authentick Authors…The Third is A Compleat Body of all our Forest, Chace, and Game-Laws, as they are at this Time…
Condition: Generally very good, with the usual light toning, soiling, soft creases. Some with short tears and small chips at margin, all can be matted out. Some with remnants of hinges, top margin, verso.
Baynton-Williams, Ashley. "Richard Blome." Mapforum.com. Issue 9. http://www.mapforum.com/09/9blome.htm (3 June 2002).
"Bowater Vernon with Hanbury Hall and Its Formal Garden." National Trust UK. http://www.ntprints.com/image.php?id=420688 (22 June 2010).
Harris, Andrew. "The Vernons of Hanbury Hall." Dodderhill Parish Survey Project. 2007. http://www.dodderhillhistory.org.uk/Default.aspx?tabid=136 (22 June 2010).
Harting, James Edmund. Bibliotheca Accipitraria. A Catalogue of Books Ancient & Modern Relating to Falconry. 1891. Reprint ed. Mansfield Center, CT: Martino Publishing, 2000. pp. 30-31.
Schwerdt, Charles Francis George Richard. Hunting, Hawking, Shooting Illustrated in A Catalogue of Books, Manuscripts, Prints, and Drawings Collected by C.G.F.R. Schwerdt. Vol 1. 1928-1937. Reprint ed. Mansfield Center, CT: Martino Publishing, 1996. p. 72.
|1||Angling||Fishing in a stream.||Angling||angling.jpg||angling-2.jpg|
|2||Fox Hunting, viz; Uncoupling, & casting of ye Hounds||Fox hunting: letting the hounds loose.||Hunting Fox||foxhounds.jpg||foxhounds-2.jpg|
|3||The Manag'd Horse||Dressage, or horse management.||Horses||horsemgmt.jpg||horsemgmt-2.jpg|
|4||Horse Raceing||Horse racing.||Horses||horseracing.jpg||horseracing-2.jpg|
|5||Horsemanship Treats of Horses & their Kinds. Breeding. Uses. Keeping.||Introductory illustration to the horsemanship section.||Horses||horsemanship.jpg||horsemanship-2.jpg|
|6||The Deere Fraying their Heads||Deer rubbing their antlers on trees. Stag hunters looked at the height of these marks to estimate the size of the animals in an area.||Hunting Stags||fraying.jpg||fraying-2.jpg|
|7||The Harborer with ye Blood Hound for harbouring the Stagg||A harborer's job was to find the location of a stag hidden in the woods, then take the hunter to that place.||Hunting Stags||stagsharbor.jpg||stagsharbor-2.jpg|
|8||Unharbouring Ye Stagg||Unharboring: startling the stag from its hiding place.||Hunting Stags||stagsunharbor.jpg||stagsunharbor-2.jpg|
|9||The End of ye Chase of ye Stagg||Stag hunting, end of the chase.||Hunting Stags||stagsend.jpg||stagsend-2.jpg|
|10||Shooting Flying||Shooting birds in flight.||Hunting Birds||shootfly.jpg||shootfly-2.jpg|
|11||Painting||Models for Painting||Art||paintingmales1.jpg||paintingmales1-2.jpg|
|12||Painting||Models for Painting||Art||paintingmales2.jpg||paintingmales2-2.jpg|
|13||Painting||Models for Painting||Art||paintingclubs.jpg||paintingclubs-2.jpg|
|14||Sculpture||Models for Sculpture||Art||sculptwrestlers.jpg||sculptwrestlers-2.jpg|
|15||Ceres||Ceres, Roman Goddess of Agriculture||Agriculture||ceres.jpg||ceres-2.jpg|
|16||Flora||Flora, Roman Goddess of Flowers||Agriculture||flora.jpg||flora-2.jpg|
|17||Pomona||Pomona, Roman Goddess of Gardens and Fruit||Agriculture||pomona.jpg||pomona-2.jpg|