The Sportsman's Companion: or Portraitures, Pedigrees and Performances, of the Most Eminent Race Horses & Stallions, Represented in Variety of Attitudes. Interspersed with Tail-Pieces & Embellishments Alluding to the Sport. Calculated for the Utility and Entertainment of the Nobility, Gentry, Breeders, &c.
8vo. Letterpress title page and 40 engr. plates by James and Henry Roberts, engr. index leaf, and publisher's 4-page catalogue (with woodcut image of cocks fighting). Stitched in wrappers.
Fine series of plates, each depicting a famous horse with his rider or stable-hand, and recording its pedigree, qualities and racing record, together with the owner's name. The final plate shows the most famous of all, the Godolphin Arabian (here called the "Bay Arabian, the property of the Right Hon.ble the Earl of Godolphin"), foaled in Yemen around 1724: "This extraordinary horse became a private stallion soon after his arrival in this kingdom, and got a greater number of fine horses of just temper with superior speed than any Arab ever did. He was the Sire of Lath, Dismal, Cade, Bajazet, Babraham, Phenix, Dormouse, Regulus, Skewball, Sultan, Blanck, Slugg, Noble, Tarquin, Blossom, the Godolphin Gelding, Shepherdess, Amelia, and many others besides stallions and brood mares, all in the highest esteem; he dies at Hogmagogg Hills, Dec. 1753, in the 29th year of his age".
Among the other horses are Lath, the Godolphin Arabian's offspring by Roxana; Basto (son of the Byerly Turk); Old Scar, whose ancestry included the Oglethorpe Arabian and Darcy's Yellow Turk, etc. The horses pictured all ran between 1708 and 1755. The first edition was published in about 1760, and this Barker edition some forty years later. This copy has no watermarks, but the books listed in J. Barker's catalogue of publications were mostly published in the 1790s.
Spine rubbed and bumped; slight wear to edges and corners. An excellent copy with two small tears imperceptibly restored. Of the utmost rarity: the only copy recorded at auction during the last decades is the Gloucester copy (Christie's, Jan. 27, 2006, lot 592).
Huth, p. 38. Cf. Podeschi 54.