1861. London: James Hogg and Sons, 1861.
Two volumes, 8vo, xii, 374 [2(ads)]; viii, 368 pp. Original red cloth pictorially stamped in blind and gilt. Two color frontispieces and eighteen tinted lithographic plates. Covers slightly rubbed and showing some soiling, backstrips faded, hinges beginning to crack, early names in ink on front free endpapers, very good copies internally.
§ First edition of these charmingly illustrated travel accounts. The Swiss portion of the narrative is devoted perforce to the mountains, but the Italian part, filling the second volume, wanders all over. The extraordinary Catlow sisters were both successful authors of books on natural history aimed at Victorian lay-persons keen to discover the natural world. Agnes was author of the very successful Popular Conchology, as well as books on botany and microscopy. Maria's books included Popular British Entomology and Popular Scripture Zoology. Sketching Rambles is a genteel travel narrative with an emphasis on the picturesque very much of its time. There is less fine-grained observation of the natural world than might have been expected of the authors, however the narrative is animated by their intelligent curiosity and was clearly intended to inspire others to ramble; as Robinson puts it, "a very seemly book, written to encourage others in similar maidenly circumstances to travel too" Robinson, Wayward Women, p. 109. Item #6025