Buckland, Frank T. | Fish Hatching

  • First edition. A lovely, fresh copy of this important early work on raising young salmon by the Victorian Era's leading authority on pisciculture.

    The naturalist Francis Trevelyan Buckland (1826-1880) began his career as a military surgeon in London, where he "eagerly embraced every opportunity of examining curious specimens of natural history, and abnormal growths, describing his observations in his Curiosities of Natural History, begun in 1858". In 1856 he joined the staff of the Field newspaper, and in 1865 he founded his own journal, Land and Water, an ‘independent channel for diffusing knowledge of practical natural history, and fish and oyster culture’.

    Buckland "applied himself to the many economic questions affecting the artificial supply of salmon, the length of the close season, the condition of different salmon rivers, and similar investigations, gradually becoming the highest authority on pisciculture. In February 1867... he was appointed inspector of salmon fisheries. No more congenial post could have been offered to him, and from then on he devoted all his energies not merely to the duties of his office, but to the study of every point connected with the history of the salmon, and endeavoured in every way to improve the condition of British fisheries and those employed in them. This involved frequent visits to the rivers and coasts of the country, when he was always a welcome guest among people of all classes" (ODNB).

    This volume was originally presented as a lecture at the Royal Institution in April, 1863. Buckland wrote in the preface that it was "a record of the observations which I have made during my experiments in Fish Hatching carried out during the winter months". He also thanked "Professor Faraday for his kind attention" as well as "Professor Tyndall, who was good enough to exhibit the young fish alive under the electric lamp, thereby adding so much to the general interest which I was most pleased to hear was caused among those present on the night of the Lecture".

    In May 1865 Buckland was appointed scientific referee to the South Kensington Museum (now the Science Museum), where he established a large collection related to pisciculture which formed the basis of the International Fisheries Exhibition of 1883 and was on display until the latter half of the 20th century. "In his lifetime Buckland was regarded as one of the most whimsical of naturalists and, with all its stories of his doings and escapades, his biography was published in popular fiction as a ‘good romance'" (ODNB).

  • London: Tinsley Brothers, 1863. Octavo. Original green pebble-grain cloth, titles to spine gilt, boards blocked in blind. Frontispiece. Contemporary ownership signature to front pastedown. Just a little rubbing at the extremities, minor spotting to edges of textblock. A fresh and attractive copy in excellent condition.