A GEOGRAPHICAL PRESENT; being descriptions of the principal countries of the world. With representations of the various Inhabitants in their respective costumes, beautifully coloured. Third Edition. London: Printed for Harvey and Darton, Gracechurch-Street.
1820. 12mo, pp. 144; with 60 charming engraved plates of costumes, hand-coloured; lacking front free endpaper; some light marginal browning and occasional light foxing and soiling, one plate with small nick in fore-edge, otherwise clean and crisp; with contemporary ownership signature on recto of frontispiece dated 1849; later 19th century binding by Bayntun’s of Bath, in full red morocco, with gilt floral border, spine in compartments with raised bands, lettered and tooled in gilt, all edges gilt, head and tail of spine and joints rubbed; with small ownership label on rear pastedown ‘AHA’. An attractive hand-coloured copy, and in a later Bayntun binding, of the third edition (first 1817), of this the most successful geographical primer by Mary Anne Venning. The work ‘skilfully blends quantitative statistics about manufactures and major rivers with qualitative judgements about national greatness. This combination propelled the text into two more editions in 1818 and 1820, and it was later published in America (in 1829, 1830, and 1831) as three separate volumes on Europe, Asia, and Africa by children’s publisher William Burgess... Venning’s ideas had a broad circulation, launching her career as a scientific writer and establishing her authority as an educator of the young’ (Norcia, p. 34).
Bibliography: Darton: G975 (3); Lipperheide, 480; Osborne, I, p. 193 (first edition); see Megan Norcia, X Marks the Spot: Women Writers Map the Empire for British Children, 1790-1895 ff. 33 for a detailed discussion of the work