Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Annals Of Sporting, 1809; Or Take This Horse And Shove It!

By Stephen J. Gertz


In 1809, the great caricaturist, Thomas Rowlandson, engraved plates after designs by two other celebrated caricaturists, Henry Bunbury and George Moutard Woodward, for Annals of Sporting, a satire of contemporary sporting anecdotes by "Caleb Quizem Esq." Sporting anecdotes as a literary genre would not recover until refreshed by Pierce Egan, his fundamental contributions to sports journalism collected as Sporting Anecdotes in 1823.

How to Vault from the Saddle

In 1808, the year before Annals of Sporting was published, Rowlandson engraved the plates after Bunbury designs for the first collected edition of The Annals of Horsemanship and The Academy For Grown Horsemen, both satires by "Geoffrey Gambado" originally appearing in the late 18th century. The author of its text,  the pseudonymous Gambado, has been tentatively identified as the antiquary and lexicographer Francis Grose, best known for his Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785).

The True Method of sitting on a Horse Mathematically Delineated.

"The text consists of sixteen letters to, and answers by C. Quizem. The first letter relates the amusing story of a sportsman mistaking his wig for a hare, and bang went the contents of the gun, and the fancied hare lay prostrate!" (Chute).

Only here are wigs considered fair game for hopeless hunters; they rarely provide much skill to fell and, significantly, don't bite when wounded. This holds true for all known species.

Game Wigs.

A Long Bob; A Short Bob.
A Black Scratch; A Physical Tie.
A Sir Cloudesley Shovel; A Three Tier.

"The text, in the form of letters, is a satire on sporting anecdotes and cockney sportsmen..." (Mary Dorothy George, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, vol. 8, no. 11479A).

The Bucephalus Riding Academy for grown Gentlemen.

The author behind the pseudonym "Caleb Quizem Esq." remains unknown. Considering that Rowlandson and Bunbury had earlier collaborated on the two Gambado volumes satirizing horsemanship and that Francis Grose was, apparently, responsible for the volumes' text*, it would seem reasonable to presume that Grose wrote the text to Rowlandson and Bunbury's Annals Of Sporting. The portrait engraving of Quizem, with its references to Gambado and Annals of Horsemanship, certainly suggests it.

However, after checking Grose's pulse I learned that not only is he indeed defunct but that he died in 1791, eighteen years before Annals Of Sporting. He thus seems an unlikely candidate for its authorship. Unless, of course, he shows up as one of the ringleaders of the looming zombie invasion and stakes his claim as Quizem, inquisitor of correspondents amongst the sporting set.


The Black Straddler [and] The short legg;d Shag Hound.

The deliriously amusing plates in Annals Of Sporting include: The Bucephalus Riding Academy for grown Gentlemen (frontispiece); How to Vault from the Saddle; The True Method of sitting on a Horse Mathematically Delineated; How a Man may Shoot his own Wig; The Maid of Mim; Costume of Hogs Norton” (two plates); Game Wigs (two plates); Hounds (two plates); Mathematical Horsemanship (six plates); Fashionable Furniture at Hogs Norton (two plates); and The Bailiffs Hunt (eight plates).

Caleb Quizem Esq.

Note volumes on book stand:
Annals of Horsemanship and Tristram Shandy.

Further note portrait in background of "Geoffrey Gambado,"
i.e. Francis Grose, who wrote the text to Annals of Horsemanship;
Henry Bunbury designed its engravings.

Commonly rebound, the book is rather rare in the publisher's boards (original price 10s. 6d).  "Caleb Quizem" appears to have written only one other book,  another satire titled Economy: a Pindaric Tale in Three Parts (1811).

"First edition of a coloured-plate Sporting-book, which is esteemed on account of its humorous plates by Rowlandson..." (Schwerdt).

"The Rowlandson colour-plates are most humorous" Chute).


[ROWLANDSON, Thomas, engraver. BUNBURY, Henry and George Moutard Woodward, artists]. QUISEM, Caleb (pseudonym). The Annals of Sporting. By Caleb Quizem Esq. and his Various Correspondents. London: Thomas Tegg, 1809.

First edition. Twelvemo (6 3/4 x 4 in; 171 x 105 mm). [10], 104 pp., untrimmed. Hand-colored fold-out frontispiece engraved by Thomas Rowlandson after Henry Bunbury, hand-colored vignette title of a rider falling from Pegasus, and twenty-six hand-colored etched plates by Thomas Rowlandson after Henry Bunbury, George Moutard Woodward, and possibly others.

Publisher's original printed boards. Publisher's advertisements printed on rear board within ornamental border.

Not found in Abbey, Tooley, nor, surprisingly, Siltzer.

Schwerdt II, pp. 119-120. Chute 533. Grego, Rowlandson the Caricaturist, p. 178.  Falk, p. 216. Grolier, Rowlandson 63.

*“Gambado is said to have been Francis Grose, compiler of  A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue” (Riely, John C.  Horace Walpole and ‘the Second Hogarth’, in Eighteenth Century Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1, Autumn, 1975).

Images courtesy of David Brass Rare Books, currently offering this title, with our thanks.

Of related Interest:

When Horses and Human Keisters Collide.

The Story Of Nobody, By Somebody, Illustrated By Someone.

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