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Hungers prevention

Markham, Gervase (1655) Hungers prevention: or the whole art of fowling by water and land. London: Francis Grove (18506-1001).

This is a scarce book by the prolific 17th century writer Gervase Markham (1568?-1637). It contains the original frontispiece wood engraving.

Markham Gervase Hungers PreventionHungers prevention has seventeen chapters and deals entirely with the different methods of catching wild birds and water fowl to provide food. Click on the photo alongside to view an enlarged version.

Chapter 9 covers the use of water dogs and the manner of training them. Markham describes them as being a:

"creature of such general use, and so frequent amongst us here in England, that it is needless to make any large description of him: the rather since not any among us is so simple that he cannot say when he sees him: 'This is a water dog ……."

Markham then goes on to describe how the water dog has:

"all his four feet spacious, full and round, and closed together to the cley, like a water duck.

"all his four feet spacious, full and round, and closed together to the cley, like a water duck."

and how:

"cutting or shaving him from the navel downward, or backward, it is two ways well to be allowed of: that is, for summer hunting, or for water. Because these water dogs naturally are ever most laden with hair on the hinder parts … yet this defence in the summer time by the violence of the heat of the sun, and the greatness of the dog's labour is very noisome and troublesome ... And so likewise in matter of water, it is a very heavy burden to the dog, and makes him swim less nimbly and slower."

The first edition of Hungers prevention was published in 1621, the copy in the Historical Collection is a copy of the second edition published in 1655.

To view this, or any other book in the Historical Collection, please contact us at [email protected] or 020 7202 0752 to arrange an appointment.