THE POOR ARTIST; OR, SEVEN EYE-SIGHTS AND ONE OBJECT. "SCIENCE IN FABLE." London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row, 1850. Small octavo, pp. [1-2] [i-iii] iv [v] vi-ix [x]  2-234, frontispiece, nineteenth-century three-quarter calf and marbled boards, spine panel tooled in gold, black leather title piece. First edition. An important work of proto-science fiction that illustrates human visual perception. Various creatures, a bee, an ant, a spider, a robin, and others, ask a penniless artist to paint a "new thing" each has seen, based on its own perception of the object. The artist does so and the object turns out to be a lost sovereign that he uses to hold a one-man show which is a huge success. This is the book famously reviewed by William Watson in his A LITTLE EARNEST BOOK ON A GREAT OLD SUBJECT; OR CHAPTERS ON POETRY AND POETS, published in 1851 which includes the first use of the phrase "science fiction." Wilson opens his review of Horne's book as follows: "Fiction has lately been chosen as a means of familiarizing science in one single case only [the Horne book] ... We hope it will not be long before we may have other works of Science-Fiction, as we believe such books likely to fulfill a good purpose, and create an interest, where, unhappily, science alone might fail." "A very unusual book, reasonably successful in achieving its aims, and certainly a document in the history of SF worthy of at least a footnote by academia." - Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy Volume III, p. 8. See Aldiss and Wingrove, TRILLION YEAR SPREE, p. 461. Not in Bleiler (1948; 1978), Reginald (1979; 1992), or Suvin (1983). Ex-Cambridge, England, "Union Society" library with their bookplate affixed to the front paste-down, and their circular ownership stamp on the title page and several text pages. Binding quite rubbed but sound, internally tight and clean, a very good copy overall. COPAC reports 7 copies. OCLC reports no copies of this edition. A rare book. (#156280).
No statement of printing.