About the author
Anthony Trollope (1815–82) is one of the greats of English literature, author of the Barchester Chronicles and the Palisers series. Born in 1815 to a barrister and the daughter of a vicar, his early life was marked by a hot-tempered father, who failed at the bar because of his temper. The family were short of money, and although Anthony had a privileged education at Harrow and Winchester, he was bullied because of his family’s poverty. Fanny Trollope, Anthony’s mother, moved with his three younger siblings to America, where she started a disastrous Bazaar near Cincinnati. After its failure they returned to England, where the family farm was failing. Fanny then wrote The Domestic Manners of the Americans, a tremendous success, which to some extent revived the family fortunes, though Thomas Trollope still failed to make money, and the whole family moved to Bruges, where they lived on Fanny’s money.
Anthony started work at the Post Office, but did not cover himself with glory for the first seven years of his time there. He then moved to Ireland to take up a position as a postal surveyor’s clerk, which position went considerably better. Trollope married, and started writing in 1844. He showed the manuscript of The Macdermots of Ballycloran to his mother, who did not read it but sent it to her publishers. Neither it nor its two successors made author or publisher any money, but in 1855, Trollope wrote the first of the tremendously successful Barchester Chronicles, The Warden. In all, he wrote 47 books. Hunting Sketches is a series of portraits of characters to be met out hunting. It first appeared in print in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1865. It was then published in book form by Chapman and Hall, and after that most notably by Benn, in 1952, illustrated by Lionel Edwards.
Finding the book
The book is no longer in copyright, so can be read for free on the internet, or in printed form as print-on-demand. The first edition will be very expensive; the Lionel Edwards edition is erratically priced.
Chapman & Hall, London, 1865
Hutchinson, London, 1934, illus Robert Ball
Benn, London, 1952, illus and with an introduction by Lionel Edwards, 141 pp.
The Trollope Society, London, 1990 (?), introduction Alistair Grant, illus David Eccles
From the dustjacket of the Benn edition:
“Trollope is chiefly known for his fictional writings, but here he was able to give full rein to his chief interest – hunting. In his autobiography he said: “I have written on very many subjects and on most of them with pleasure, but on no subject with such delight as that of hunting.”