An Account of the Mode of Draining Land, according to the System practised by Mr. Joseph Elkington…Drawn up for the Consideration of the Board of Agriculture…

Folding engraved frontis. & 18 folding engraved plates. [iii]-xvi, [one leaf of ads], 211, [1] pp. 8vo, mid-19th-cent. half-olive sheep & cloth, upper cover stamped in blind “Carolus Porcher de Clyffe” with his arms, binder’s ticket “Bound by S. Mepham, Dorchester,” spine gilt, red leather lettering piece on spine. London: R. Phillips, 1808.

“Third edition, corrected and enlarged” (the first edition appeared in 1797, and there were a total of five editions through 1841). Johnstone (d. 1838), an Edinburgh surveyor, was promised a grant of £1000 by the recently formed Board of Agriculture to provide a detailed and accurate account of the system of land drainage developed by Joseph Elkington (d. 1806), a farmer in Warwickshire and designer of land drainage systems. Elkington was known to be in poor health, and it was feared that knowledge of his innovations might perish with him.

“About 1763 Elkington inherited a farm at Princethorpe, where some years later he discovered, at Long Harold Pits along a geological fault, the method of land drainage for which he is remembered. He discovered by accident, after losing more than 800 sheep to liver rot, how some strata were porous and pervious to water while others were not, and that he could locate the former with the auger used in exploring for marl and coal.”–ODNB.

Many of the attractive plates depict geological strata.

Elkington’s methods were brought to the attention of the Board of Agriculture by the antiquary Charles Towneley and Sir Joseph Banks.

Fine copy, lacking half-title. Armorial bookplate of Charles Porcher. Faint stamp of the Lawes Agricultural Trust on front paste-down.

❧ Fussell, III, pp. 25-26.

Price: $1,650.00

Item ID: 6463

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